No matter how hard we try to understand and interpret our vast universe, there will always be puzzles out there that are yet to be solved. Exoplanets are defined as planets orbiting other stars outside of our own solar system varying from beautiful to mysterious to strange. Here is a list of ten strange and mysterious planets in the cosmos.
1. CoRoT-7b: The Planet That Snows Rocks:
Tidally locked with its star and orbiting very close to it, the side of CoRoT-7b facing the sun reaches temperatures as high as 2,200 degrees Celsius but the other side can drop to -210 degrees Celsius. Lava on the star side gets heated so much that it evaporates forming large stone clouds that later compress on the relatively cooler side of the planet, where it rains large rocks. On the hotter side, it rains magma and on the colder side, the magma hardens before hitting the ground creating rock snow.
2. GJ 436 b: The Planet of Burning Ice :
About as big as Neptune, GJ 436 b stays a little 2.5 million miles from its star. It has a temperature about 822 degrees F, hot enough to evaporate water. But for some reason, its water remains in solid form. Unlike the ice, we find here on Earth, it has a special kind of ice called Ice VII that that has a denser and more crystalline structure. It is believed to be caused by the strong gravitational force at the planet’s core. There are huge quantities of carbon monoxide when its outer layer of hydrogen and helium gas should result in high levels of methane.
3. 55 Cancri e: A Diamond Planet :
55 Cancri, a tidally locked planet, is about twice the size of earth, and most famously known for being 1/3 diamond. It is said to be a result of an atmosphere that’s mostly carbon, allowing the heat and pressure from both its sun and its interior to compress the planet’s mass into diamonds. One side always facing the sun and the other which is forever in darkness, its water has a strange behavior somewhere between a liquid and gas.
4. HD 189733b: The Planet That Rains Glass:
One of the most interesting exoplanets is HD 189733b. Stated at 63 light-years away, the planet is known for raining glass sideways. This planet’s winds can reach speeds of up to 8,700 kilometers per hour causing any strange rain to fall sideways. The planet’s clouds to rain molten glass, which hardens as it falls because of its silica-concentrated atmosphere. Its wind pushes the glass at such speeds that the shards fly through the air horizontally, slicing up everything in their path.
5. TrES-2b: The Darkest Planet:
TrES-2b is the darkest planet found yet. Its atmosphere contains vaporized sodium, potassium, and titanium oxide, all of which absorb light reflecting less than 1 percent of the sunlight that hits it. This makes it darker than coal. Its air has the same temperature as lava and it might have a red glow from its burning atmosphere.
6. Kepler-16b: The Real-Life Tatooine :
Kepler-16b is often referred to as the Tatooine as the Star Wars planet. It is because of being the only exoplanets ever found that orbits a binary star system. It has a mass same as 105 Earths and it has an atmosphere comprised of hydrogen, methane, and small amounts of helium and it completes an orbit around its two stars in 627 of our Earth years.
7. J1407b: A Saturn On Steroids :
Often referred to as a “Saturn on steroids” or “Super Saturn” because of its massive system of circumplanetary rings with a radius of approximately 90 million km about 640 times the one of Saturn’s rings, J1407b is the only known exoplanet with rings similar to Saturn. It has a large gap halfway into the ring system and it’s likely that a Mars-sized exomoon orbits the planet within this gap.
8. Gj 1214b: The Waterworld :
Gj 1214b is a steamy Waterworld planet that is larger than Earth but smaller than Uranus. This new type of alien planet has no land, but only oceans that stretch all over the surface.
9. Gj-504b – The Pink Planet :
This beautiful pink colored exoplanet is the stays at the Virgo constellation. Gliese 504 b orbits its star at nearly nine times the distance Jupiter orbits the sun. It is a newly formed planet and is still glowing with heat making the surface appear a shade of magenta.
10. Hat-P-7b: Where It Rains Rubies And Sapphires :
Located in the Cygnus constellation, on the night side of Hat-P-7b high precipitation of aluminum oxide is found in the atmosphere. Because corundum gems are rubies and sapphires, one can define the hypothetical weather on the planet’s night side as ‘raining rubies & sapphires’