Dark Exoplanet WASP-12b Devours 94 Percent Of Visible Starlight

An exoplanet located beyond our solar system observed by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope appears as black as asphalt because it “eats” light rather than reflecting it back into space, new research suggests. This light-eating ability is due to the planet’s unique prowess at trapping at least 94 percent of the visible starlight falling into its atmosphere. The oddball exoplanet, called WASP-12b, is one of a class of so-called “hot Jupiters,” gigantic, gaseous planets that orbit very close to their host star and are heated to extreme temperatures. [Read More]

Hubble Galaxy Cluster Image Looks halfway to the Universe’s Edge

A 14-hour exposure image cluster taken by the Hubble Space Telescope shows objects around a billion times fainter than can be seen with the naked eye. The image of a galaxy cluster gives astronomers an amazing cross-section of the Universe, showing objects at various distances and stages in cosmic history. The galaxies in this image lie mostly within around five billion light-years of Earth. The image field also includes objects that are both closer and more distant. [Read More]