What is a hot Jupiter?

Could these worlds be the extreme cousins of gas giant Jupiter?

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Hot Jupiters are huge worlds made of gas that are heated to high temperatures by their star

Hot Jupiters are huge worlds made of gas that are heated to high temperatures by their star

Asked by Elizabeth Perry

Hot Jupiters are exactly what their name suggests. These alien worlds are made of gas (just like their prototype) and are often found orbiting extremely closely to their star – much closer in than Mercury is to our Sun. Some get so hot that their surfaces are often found to reach temperatures of a thousand to a several thousand degrees Celsius. In short, their star roasts their gases.

Hot Jupiters are fairly exotic, at least by the standards of our Solar System, with some of these sweltering worlds possibly having clouds of molten rock scudding through their skies. They are also likely to be tidally locked, with one side of these worlds facing their star and the other pointing to freezing cold space – such a temperature difference between the two hemispheres whips up plenty of extreme weather.

Image Credit: ESO

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