Thousands of planets that are located within our solar system and far, far beyond have been discovered in the last couple of decades. Many of them are so different from Earth, and those findings continue to spark interest in exoplanet exploration.
HD 189733b: A Planet Where It Rains Glass
This planet is around 62 light-years away from Earth. What makes this planet intriguing is its atmosphere. The atmosphere of HD 189733b is made of silicate atoms, which create a breathtaking array of deep blue and azure colors. The winds on this planet reach the speed of 5,400 mph (this is seven times faster than the speed of sound!), and during those storms, it rains - glass!
Wasp-12b: The Light Eater
This planet is two times bigger than Jupiter, and the temperatures of its atmosphere reach the melting values of 8,312 °C (4,600 °F). The Wasp-12b is so close to the orbit of its host star that the classic change of day and night does not exist. This dark exoplanet literally eats up the light, and it does not reflect any of it into space.
Ogle-2005-Blg-390lb: The Frozen Kingdom
The Ogle is located in the constellation of Sagittarius, which is 20,000 light-years away from us. This planet is too far away from any glowing star, which makes it one of the coldest exoplanets that we discovered so far. The whole planet is covered in ice, glaciers, and giant ice mountains because the temperature there drops down to -220 °C (-364 °F).
Kepler-78b: Lava Earth
This one is quite similar to Earth, located in the Cygnus constellation. The weirdest thing about Kepler-78b is how close it came to its host star. It is 40 times closer to the star than one of the planets from our solar system, Mercury. With a distance of only 550,000 miles, the temperature on the Kepler-78b goes up to mind-blowing 2030 °C (3680 °F).
Kepler-10c: Supersized Earth
This planet is a huge puzzle for astronomers. Why? Because it is 17 times greater in weight than Earth, and it is twice Earth’s size. Located in the Draco constellation, 560 light-years away from us, the discovery of Kepler-10c created a new category of exoplanets that the scientists named ‘’Mega-Earths’’.
Hat-P-7b: Raining Sapphire
A 1000 light-years from Earth, this planet is located in the Cygnus constellation. Its atmosphere is filled with aluminum oxide, a compound that creates rubies and sapphires. When the powerful winds start to blow around the planet, on its night side, rubies and sapphires are thrown onto the surface.
55 Cancri E: Diamonds Are Forever
This planet is relatively close to Earth, located in the Cancer constellation, ‘’only’’ 40 light-years away. Two times as big as our planet, but eight times bigger in mass and density, the 55 Cancri E is made mostly of carbon. Because of the high pressure affecting the surface, along with the temperatures that go up to 2400°C (4417 °F), this planet’s surface is covered with - diamonds.
J1407b: A Super-Saturn
In the constellation of Centaurus, 434 light-years away from Earth, this planet resembles the one we know from our solar system - Saturn. This is because of the fact that Saturn-like rings surround the planet. However, these rings are, hear this - around 640 times bigger than the ones Saturn has! Imagine if this planet came into the place of the current Saturn - the rings would be seen from Earth’s surface even better than a full moon.
KELT-9b: The Disappearing Planet
This is the hottest exoplanet that has been discovered so far, 650 light-years away from Earth. The unfortunate destiny of this planet is that it will soon disappear (‘’soon’’ in astronomical terms can be about a few million years from now). KELT-9b is locked within the orbit of its star, and one side is always facing the star. The temperatures rise to 4,315°C (7,800°F) on its surface, which will eventually lead to burning out of the whole planet.
Gliese 436b: Where Laws Of Physics Seem To Fail
This exoplanet is an intriguing one because it seems to defy the laws of physics as we know them. Just 30 light-years away from us, lying in the Leo constellation, this planet orbits its star reasonably close. However, even with the temperatures going up to 439°C (822°F), the surface remains covered in ice. How is that possible? Scientists explained that the gravity of Gliese 436b is extremely strong that it can even prevent ice from melting in high temperatures, compressing all the vapor that tries to leave its atmosphere.