MARK GARLICK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MARK GARLICK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
WASP-12b is an extrasolar planet, found orbiting the star WASP-12 using the SuperWASP planetary transit survey. The planet is so close to its host star that it completes a single orbit in little more than a day, and astronomers have measured its orbital distance as just 0.023 astronomical units 1 44th of the Earth-Sun distance. This proximity means that WASP-12b, a so-called hot Jupiter, is tidally distorted by the gravity of its parent star and is losing material to it in a narrow gas stream. Its day side temperature is around 2500 Kelvin comparable to some cool stars. Although WASP-12b is hot enough to glow by its own emission, it reflects very little incident light, and it has been described as being as black as asphalt.
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