MARK GARLICK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MARK GARLICK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Alien planet. Artwork of an alien gas giant planet orbiting a star. Massive gas giants such as this are known as "brown dwarfs". They are too small to have the mass required to start the nuclear reactions associated with stars, but are far larger than most planets. The night side of this planet glows dull red due to heat from its gravitational contraction. The atmosphere on the day side is fluorescing purple. Numerous large gas giant planets have been discovered around other stars. Most of them are larger than Jupiter and orbit much closer to the star than any of the planets in our Solar System. They are known as "hot Jupiters".
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