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.