This planet is blacker than asphalt

This planet is blacker than asphalt

It’s called WASP-12b, and it’s a planet with such a low albedo that it hardly reflects light, making it as dark as fresh asphalt .

This is what has recently been discovered of this exoplanet thanks to the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS) on the NASA / ESA Hubble Space Telescope.


The albedo is the percentage of radiation that any surface reflects with respect to the radiation that falls on it. Light surfaces have higher albedo values ​​than dark ones, and glossy ones more than matte ones. The mean albedo of the Earth is 37-39% of the radiation that comes from the Sun. That of WASP-12b is twice less reflective than our moon, which has an albedo of 0.12 .

An international team led by astronomers from McGill University, Canada, and the University of Exeter, UK, is responsible for this find . WASP-12b orbits the sun-like star WASP-12A, some 1,400 light-years distant, and since its discovery in 2008 has become one of the best-studied exoplanets .

With a radius almost twice that of Jupiter and a year of just over one Earth day, WASP-12b is classified as a hot Jupiter. WASP-12b is only the second planet to have spectrally resolved albedo measurements, the first being HD 189733b, another hot Jupiter.