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A giant mirror in space

A giant mirror in space

There is a planet 264 light years away from Earth, named ‘LTT9779b’. Astronomers call the planet outside the solar system ‘a giant mirror in space’. They reported this information recently after observing the planet by the European Space Agency’s (ESA) ‘Characterizing Exoplanet Satellite’ mission.

According to The Telegraph’s report, NDTV said that LTT9779b was discovered by NASA in 2020. ESA is responsible for observing the planet. After intensive observations, the agency reported that LTT9779b orbits a Sun-like star every 19 hours. The planet has reflective metallic clouds made of metals such as silicates and titanium. The planet reflects about 80 percent of the light that reaches it.

A research report describing the planet has been published in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics. Astronomer Professor James Jenkins, co-author of the study, called the planet a ‘giant mirror in space’.

The diameter of the planet is 4.7 times that of Earth. It orbits a Sun-like star at a much closer distance than Mercury. Venus is the brightest planet in the solar system, reflecting 75 percent of incoming light. It is surrounded by a toxic cloud of sulfuric acid. Earth reflects about 30 percent of the light that hits it.

Most planets cannot reflect light due to rough surfaces and absorption by the planet’s surface. No exceptions are known except for Venus’ moon, Saturn’s moon Enceladus, and Jupiter’s moon Europa. But scientists say this is the first time such a bright planet has been found so close to its star.

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