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Colorado Researchers Discover Hint Of Scorching-Hot Planet Orbiting Vega

BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4) -- Astronomers have discovered new hints of a giant, scorching-hot planet orbiting Vega, one of the brightest stars in the night sky.

If the team's findings bear out, the alien world would rank as the second hottest exoplanet known to science, with average surface temperatures of 5,390 degrees Fahrenheit.

Additionally, the alien planet would orbit so close to Vega that its years would last less than two-and-a-half Earth days.

CU Vega Planet (artist's depiction of planet KELT-9b, credit NASA and JPL-Caltech)
(credit: University of Colorado Boulder)

The research, published this month in The Astrophysical Journal, was led by University of Colorado Boulder student Spencer Hurt, an undergraduate in the Department of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences.

Vega is just 25 light-years, or about 150 trillion miles, from Earth — which is pretty close, astronomically speaking. Scientists can also see Vega with telescopes even when it's light out, which makes it a prime candidate for research, according to study coauthor Samuel Quinn.


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