Tuesday, September 19, 2023


2:02 PM | ,

The universe is full of strange planets, and among them, Gliese 504b, a body that glows an intense pink/magenta color, deserves special mention.

Discovered in 2013 by direct imaging with the Subaru Telescope, the planet orbits a sun-like star at the edge of naked-eye visibility in the constellation Virgo, 57 light-years from Earth.

Gliese 504b is a gas giant with a mass about 4 times that of Jupiter and a radius 1.16 times that of the solar system giant. It also moves along an orbit characterized by a semi-major axis of 43 AU. The large distance from the star and its high mass made it possible to image it directly through the telescope.

Despite its very outer orbit, the planet has a surface temperature of 237 degrees Celsius. In fact, the system formed only 190 million years ago, so some residual heat from its formation is still trapped inside the planet. This heat is slowly being released into space, keeping the surface temperature very high. This temperature coincides with an emission in the wavelengths corresponding to the color pink/magenta. So if we were in orbit around this planet, we would see it glow a beautiful pink color!

Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center/S. Wiessinger.

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