The darkest world known to man
An artist's conception of how TrES-2b, the darkest planet ever found, might look up close.
August 12th, 2011
10:10 AM ET

The darkest world known to man

Astronomers say they've uncovered the darkest world ever, a planet blacker than coal that absorbs 99% of the light its star sends its way.

TrES-2b is a Jupiter-sized gas giant orbiting a star 750 light years from Earth in the direction of the constellation Draco.

Astronomers found out the dark truth about TrES-2b using data from NASA's Kepler spacecraft, a satellite telescope to survey our Milky Way galaxy in search of Earth-like planets.

TrES-2b won't fall into that category, however.

"TrES-2b is considerably less reflective than black acrylic paint, so it's truly an alien world," astronomer David Kipping of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics said in a press release. He is the lead author of a research paper on the dark planet submitted to the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Kipping and co-author David Spiegel of Princeton University say TrES-2b is a scalding world, with a temperature of about 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit. Its atmosphere probably contains vaporized sodium and potassium, or gaseous titanium oxide, all substances that absorb light but wouldn't alone account for the planet's darkness.

"It's not clear what is responsible for making this planet so extraordinarily dark," Spiegel said in a press release. "However, it's not completely pitch black. It's so hot that it emits a faint red glow, much like a burning ember or the coils on an electric stove."

TrES-2b revealed itself when as its orbit took it between Kepler and its star, changing the amount of light coming from the star ever so slightly.

"By combining the impressive precision from Kepler with observations of over 50 orbits, we detected the smallest-ever change in brightness from an exoplanet: just 6 parts per million," Kipping said in the press release. "In other words, Kepler was able to directly detect visible light coming from the planet itself."

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Filed under: Discoveries • News
soundoff (469 Responses)
  1. shop gel bôi trơn tại hà nội

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    June 2, 2013 at 12:34 am |
  2. tłumacz holenderskiego grudziądz

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    April 20, 2013 at 10:49 am |
  3. Carmelo Vankomen

    Very nice style and design and superb content material , nothing at all else we need : D.

    December 7, 2011 at 10:23 am |
  4. I most certainly reddit the sentiment.

    The LDS Church leads to many issues Will. It can give false impressions and pressure you to do things that you really shouldn't do (like get married so young)

    December 1, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
  5. Looktothefuture

    It is amazing how many contradictions are being said by both points of views on whether God is real or not. As stated in prior post if the bible is to be discredited because imperfect man has wrote it, then the same can be said about imperfect human beings such as scientist. What is fact and logic to them is inspired by none other than hope and a longing to find answers based on assumption with high probability of being incorrect. Scientist do not give credit to GOD for what they claim are discoveries. God is the one who allows us to see and advance as humans beings at time frame we are suppose too. Prophecy has been fulfilled and only one prophecy remains, whether you choose to worship God is your choice, but choose to give credit all to man is very closed minded. And to believe in worlds and planets, and aliens etc, lights year away with assumptions made only from a telescope, you should be open the possibility of a higher Being, the creator of all things, the life giver to all. We are in a spiritual war and are on the earth only as vessels. one day everyone whether their eyes are open to it or not, will see!.

    September 16, 2011 at 10:48 am |
  6. Truth

    In my opinion God is not real. I think that the earth was visited in the past by aliens. They influenced ancient man in ways that we could not imagine. I know this sounds crazy and all, but just think about it. the earth is 4.5 billion years old. the universe is 14.6 billion years old. so is it so hard to imagine aliens coming in the past and visit ancient earth ? for example how do our ancestors cut and lift a 50,000 ton granite block up the face of a mountain ? i mean the only thing that is a able to cut through granite is diamond. and were told they did this by the use of a chisel and the use of many slaves and..... that is just impossible, because even today our strongest cranes would have trouble with this, so how in the hell did they pull this off ?

    September 13, 2011 at 8:43 pm |
  7. Truth

    In my opinion, i think that God is not real. What i think is the truth that aliens came to earth and influenced man. For example, how do our ancient ancestors lift 50,000 ton giant blocks of granite up the side of a mountain ? And were told that oh they did it with ropes and many slave..... BS.

    September 13, 2011 at 8:36 pm |
  8. pat

    I want god to exist so I can disobey him.

    September 8, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
  9. MindBlown

    I think I lost some IQ points reading this "discussion." Nothing like taking two bricks (one the scientific community, one the religious community) and slapping them together until your hands bleed. Nothing good comes of these discussions. The REALITY of it all is that there's a very dark gaseous body rolling around a star out there where you or I will never go in our life times. So let's admire what we've found, rather than try and slap a label on it.

    August 28, 2011 at 7:15 pm |
  10. Flugelphone

    If you think a theory is just an idea, then you're wrong. It's a testable idea that can be repeated multiple times by multiple people with the same results.

    August 14, 2011 at 9:21 pm |
    • helenecha

      Oh, I guess so. ... with the visible results.

      August 15, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
  11. helenecha

    Personally, astrophysicists are supposed to stand a good chance of restoring the facts through the Kepler.

    August 13, 2011 at 9:47 pm |
  12. media scienti

    Jodie foster "lights up hope" from earth for intelligent life in the galaxy

    August 13, 2011 at 8:47 pm |
  13. jordygordy

    If we can find planets why can't we find biggie or tupac?

    August 13, 2011 at 6:11 pm |
  14. chris

    Cool , it would be funny if the darkest planet had life on it.

    August 13, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
  15. Koichi Ito

    This Jupiter-size planet around sun-like star at 750 light year away is much darker than Darth Varder's helmet! So I would name this pitch black planet "Planet Darkon"?

    August 13, 2011 at 10:46 am |
  16. wonder

    CAG: I'm not sure myself. The information would probably be available at NASA's web sight. However, it would be reasonable that the star is similar to our own.

    August 13, 2011 at 2:59 am |
  17. LOL'n

    People still believe in "God"? LOLing HARD.

    August 13, 2011 at 2:38 am |
  18. Challenger

    SERIOUSLY!!!

    WHY DON'T YOU ALL CHALLENGE THE GOD HIMSELF AND SEE WHAT HAPPENS. BEFORE YOU DO THAT, DON'T SAY A THING OR REPENT.

    August 13, 2011 at 1:59 am |
    • Challenger

      II CHANGED MY MIND!! I THOUGHT ABOUT IT AND NOW IT MAKES SENSE THAT GOD DOES NOT EXIST.. EXCUSE THE STUPIDITY OF MY PREVIOUS COMMENT!!

      August 13, 2011 at 2:39 am |
  19. cag

    Why is religion and god coming into play here. All this article is about is a newly discovered planet the size of Jupiter 750 light years away and a temperature of 1800 [deg F] (ouch!). A lot of stupid comments. If aliens from another world read some of these statements, they would come to the conclusion that there is no intelligent life here. At any rate, this is a fascinating. I have always thought Venus was the hottest around but looks like I was wrong. I wonder how close to the star the planet is? And I wonder if there planets out there even hotter than this? I guess only time will tell.

    August 13, 2011 at 1:24 am |
    • wonder

      It's a big universe, so it is possible.

      August 13, 2011 at 1:31 am |
      • cag

        I wonder what variation of star this planet is orbiting? I wouldn't be a super giant star as that would have gone supernova a long time ago. I'm guessing it is similar in type to our star.

        August 13, 2011 at 2:56 am |
  20. El Senor

    You're all a bunch of idiots.

    August 13, 2011 at 1:22 am |
  21. flugelphone

    Oh, and theories include A LOT of facts. They're based on facts. For example, the theory of evolution is based on A LOT of geological and biological evidence. Fossil evidence (which is very clear and virtually unmistakable). coinciding with records of climate change from cyanobacteria. A theory is a testable prediction that can be repeated with the same result.

    August 12, 2011 at 11:57 pm |
  22. pinkpine

    Genetics is the mother of all living and dead. If there are living then there be dead as well. Genetic operates on the contrasting characters if there are bright objects in the cosmos then there should be dark or black, blacker than Coal. All living things originated from God that is what Veda teachs us.

    August 12, 2011 at 11:56 pm |
  23. flugelphone

    No....a scientific theory can practically be a fact. Very few things in science are consider "proven." A theory is a testable predication. Example: the theory of gravity. It's there and we can test it. Just because it is labeled as a theory doesn't mean that it's probably true of a fact.

    August 12, 2011 at 11:51 pm |
  24. JC SUPERSTAR

    Bring me the Stones.

    August 12, 2011 at 11:51 pm |
  25. JC SUPERSTAR

    Looks like Zorg will get a call from Mr Shadow.

    August 12, 2011 at 11:50 pm |
  26. jabgar00

    I don't really believe in heaven or hell because any person with any logic know that's fresh out of a story book! How can you physically be put in a fire pit when your body is dead. When you die nobody really wants to admit it but deep down everybody knows you go back to same state you were in before you we're born.. and of course none of us remember how things we're before we we're born because we wasn't a live! I'm not saying there's no god because it could be. but ask your self this. do you really think some divine creator spawned his self into exitence out of thin air and then created everything else?.. The universe is too big for the bible to only be written for earth. they found 2,500 planets last summer by the Kepler Telescope only scanning a fraction of the universe. Nobody knows how big the universe really is ..it could go on forever! It's scientific proof that humans came from gorilla's and chimpanese's. the church know the truth to but their like politicans! it's no way they can go back and say there's no god and human evolved from apes. a lot of people pockets will be hurt! Bottom line it's over 1million planets in our universe human are on a small scale. it's no supernatural, mystical, magical, miracle man watching over you!

    August 12, 2011 at 11:50 pm |
    • blowmyballsoff

      Word up. Keep it real.

      August 13, 2011 at 3:59 am |
  27. HuH

    Yeah. I've got a talking monkey for that.

    August 12, 2011 at 11:44 pm |
  28. Chris

    Hey kids,here's a fun idea: let's see how many of us are truly enlightened. Say (type)"yes" or "no" relative to the following:

    There is an absolute, actual truth/fact that there is either is a "God" or there is not a "God".

    August 12, 2011 at 11:26 pm |
  29. helenecha

    Good job! There's a planet on the Kepler's watch. Gladly, I'm coming to be a listener.

    August 12, 2011 at 11:19 pm |
  30. What_Ever

    Did you say you used frequent flyer miles?

    August 12, 2011 at 11:10 pm |
  31. Flugelphone

    It hilarious (but scary) how some people think the bible is completely accurate and quote from it to justify their answer

    August 12, 2011 at 10:42 pm |
    • elvira mistress of the dark

      That's Hades.

      August 13, 2011 at 12:41 am |
    • kippy

      Hey anyone wanna hangout?

      August 13, 2011 at 3:57 am |
    • Smarterthanyou

      Tell me: Do you believe in god?
      ** Then You are stupid.***

      Stop and think.Please... It's fine if it's something that calms you down but please be rational. If you insist that god exists, you are a stupid, retarded, medieval moron.

      August 13, 2011 at 7:53 am |
      • Dman

        @smarterthanyou - I love you. 🙂

        September 7, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
      • Bob

        If two Japanese scientists can create a universe in a lab...then who is to say our unversed was not created in a similar way? Your bias shows your lack of intelligence.

        September 23, 2011 at 1:15 am |
    • tchr89

      I find it rather absurd that "scientists" think they know all this stuff that is so far away it's not even in our galaxy, no one has traveled there, and the picture is just an artist's conception of what the planet might look like.

      September 8, 2011 at 11:42 pm |
    • Wiley

      Worlds other than ours discovered, Christians flip out. Quit living in the dark ages.

      September 13, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
    • Looktothefuture

      It is amazing how many contridictions are being said by both points of views on whether God is real or not. As stated in prior post if the bible is to be discredited because imperfect man has wrote it, then the same can be said about imperfect human beings such as scientist. What is fact and logic to them is inspired by none other than hope and a longing to find answers based on assumption with high probablity of being incorrect. Scientist do not give credit to GOD for what they claim are discoveries. God is the one who allows us to see and advance as humans beings at time frame we are suppose too. Prophecy has been fulfilled and only one phrophecy remains, whether you choose to worship God is your choice, but choose to give credit all to man is very closed minded. And to belive in worlds and planets, and aliens etc, lights year away with assumtions made only from a telescope, you should be open the possiblity of a higher Being, the creator of all things, the life giver to all. We are in a spiritual war and are on the earth only as vessels. one day everyone whether their eyes are open to it or not, will see!.

      September 16, 2011 at 10:40 am |
    • bonnie`

      it is exactly right trying reading it and checking out history its right on the money just bcause u dont undertand something doesnt mean its not right check out the sc ientific daya of its proof its all there everything:

      May 5, 2013 at 1:01 am |
  32. Mike

    Peace to ALL.

    August 12, 2011 at 10:39 pm |
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