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Discovery Alert: These Giants are Hot

Simulation of turbulent atmosphere in a "hot Jupiter" exoplanet.
Simulation of atmospheric turbulence in a gas giant as it swings close to its parent star. Three newly discovered hot, giant planets in were added recently to NASA's Exoplanet Archive.
NASA/JPL-Caltech/MIT/Principia College

Planets: Qatar-8b, Qatar-9b, Qatar-10b

Discovered by: Qatar Exoplanet Survey

Date: March 2019

Key facts: The theme for three new planets added to the Exoplanet Archive is hot, hot, hot. All orbit their stars in between 1.5 to about 4 days. Because they are so close to their suns, they hover between 1,457 degrees to 3,000 degrees F.

Details: Qatar-8b, 9b and 10b are all gas giants like our own Jupiter and Saturn, but in tight orbits around their parent stars. Qatar-8b is just over a third of Jupiter's mass, and is considered a "hot Saturn." It takes less than four days to orbit its star, which is about 900 light-years from Earth. Qatar-9b, a "hot Jupiter," takes only a day and a half to make a complete orbit -– a "year" on this planet. This gas giant, about 1.2 times Jupiter's mass, orbits a star 688 light-years away. And while Qatar-10b has a very similar orbital period – 1.6 days – and is also a hot Jupiter, it would look much larger than Jupiter at 1.5 times the distance across. Oddly, Qatar-10b is significantly less dense than Jupiter, with only about three quarters of its mass. It orbits a star more than 1,700 light-years away.

What's new: We're getting ever closer to the 4,000 mark for confirmed exoplanets. The new planets bring the total on the Exoplanet Archive counter to 3,949 – only 51 planets to go.