KELT-9b doesn’t cease to amaze scientists as it continues to reveal more and more mysteries.

Like any other tidally-locked planets it has a hotspot, which should have been at the substellar point, directly facing the star the planet orbits. However, researchers have discovered that the hotspot is offset.

Scientists say an exoplanet that is 670 light years away is so hot that it rips its own atmosphere. A study published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters reveals that KELT-9b, which was first discovered in 2016, is not only the hottest planet discovered by scientists, but its heat is so extreme that it experiences meltdowns across its surface that result in molecules being torn apart in the atmosphere.

Using the Spitzer Space Telescope, scientists found out that the temperature on the planet’s day side is 4,300 degrees Celsius, (7,800 Fahrenheit) which makes KELT-9b hotter than at least 80 percent of all known stars. The day side of the planet is so hot that hydrogen molecules cannot hold themselves together and are shredded apart into atoms. This process is called hydrogen dissociation and recombination.

“This kind of planet is so extreme in temperature, it is a bit separate from a lot of other exoplanets”, said planetary scientist Megan Mansfield of the University of Chicago.



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