Here are the 13 most beautiful planets in the universe.
From TrES-2b to PSR J1719-1438 B.
If you’re interested in learning about the 13 most beautiful planets in the universe, then this article is for you.
Let’s get started!
The Most Beautiful Planets in the Universe
Space is unbelievably strange.
You would be forgiven for thinking that every planet out there is similar, just a big ball of rock and gas. However, planets are remarkably more unique than that.
Scientists and other inquisitive people have been exploring this universe since the beginning of human existence because they wanted to understand better the wonders found in the night sky. It is their curiosity that led them to think about things from different perspectives.
By thinking about things in new ways, we gain insights so we can better understand ourselves and the world around us.
This led to the invention of telescopes. Telescopes permitted us to probe more deeply into the night sky.
We began to see that there was much more out there than what we could see just looking up into the sky unaided.
Scientists began to wonder if there might be other life out there. So they started searching for exoplanets where life might be possible.
Although we have yet to find other life out there, astronomers and others continue to hope and explore. During these efforts, we have discovered some extraordinarily beautiful planets.
Here are 13 of some of the most beautiful planets of the universe yet discovered. While they may seem weird, it’s that strangeness, in a way, that makes them beautiful.
So are you ready to imagine yourself on a fantastic science fiction trek across the universe to find the most beautiful planets? Strap yourself in.
First up is this dark menacing planet affectionately named TrES-2b. This planet was discovered on August 21, 2006, by the Trans-Atlantic Exoplanet Survey (TrES).
A 2008 study conducted on this planet concluded that the TrES-2 system is a binary star system planet. It is located 750 light-years away from our solar system.
As far as we know, it is officially the darkest planet in the entire universe. This is because it reflects less than 1% of all light that hits it, making it significantly darker than most known exoplanets.
Its ominously dark surface can be partially explained by the light absorbent gasses that make up the planet’s bulk.
But scientists don’t really know for sure why it is so dark. One reason for its darkness could be the absence of reflective clouds, such as those clouds that make Jupiter so bright.
Due to TrES-2 b’s proximity to its parent star and the resulting high temperature, it gets even creepier.
Not only does this evil-looking ball of gas not reflect any light, it actually glows a molten red color, as if it’s a hot ball of coal on fire. This is because the surface of the planet is a punishing 2012° F (1100° C), which is so hot that it glows red.
#2 55 Cancri e
55 Cancri e was actually discovered on August 30, 2004. This planet is anything but dark.
In fact, it’s luminescent in space, sparkling just like a diamond. This is because it is, in fact, a gigantic diamond.
55 Cancri e is an exoplanet that orbits its sun-like host star, 55 Cancri. The mass of this exoplanet is about 8.63 times the mass of the Earth.
Yes, that’s right, this planet is about twice the size of the Earth. The planet is very carbon-heavy, so dense that all of the carbon found on it is in the form of a solid diamond! That is a third of its mass.
This diamond planet is located 40 light-years away from Earth. Even if you could travel that far to retrieve the endless supply of diamonds it has to offer, you would completely overwhelm the diamond supply on Earth and therefore make diamonds completely worthless.
So, this beautiful planet is best admired from afar.
#3 Gliese 436 b
Gliese 436 b was actually discovered in August 2004 by R. Paul Butler and Geoffrey Marcy. This planet seems to defy everything you thought you knew about chemistry because it’s a giant ball of ice, but it’s on fire!
Imagine for a second that you are on the planet Hoth from the movie Star Wars. That’s exactly what Gliese 436 b would look like, except that the icy surface constantly burns on 822.2° F (439° C).
So, how can this be?
How can ice defy the chemistry laws and stay completely solid at 822.2° (439°) above its melting point?
Well, the planet’s gravity is so immensely strong that it pulls the melted ice water towards its core, compressing it into a solid form, stopping it from ever evaporating, no matter how much it melts.
#4 HD 189773 b
This is an exoplanet that is approximately 64.5 light-years away from our solar system, located in the constellation of Vulpecula. This planet was discovered on October 5, 2005. It is orbiting a star named HD 189733. Its mass is 16.2% higher than that of Jupiter.
Next time you complain about the weather on Earth, just stop for a moment and be thankful that you don’t live on planet HD 189773 b where it constantly rains glass sideways. You read that correctly—glass.
This planet’s atmosphere is full of silicon particles which gives it a beautiful blue color. Because of the planet’s extremely high surface temperature, these silicon particles condense to form solid glass, which flies around the planet sideways in its endless 4000 mph winds.
HD 189733 b orbits its host star once every 2.2 days at the orbital speed of 341,000 mph (152.5 km) per second, making it a “Hot Jupiter” with poor prospects for extraterrestrial life.
This planet was discovered on April 1, 2008. Due to the extreme closeness of its orbit around its star, it has one of the lowest densities of any of the exoplanets.
This strange planet takes a little over a day to orbit its star, in contrast to 365 days it takes the Earth to orbit the Sun. This poor, unfortunate planet is slowly being eaten alive by its star.
It’s caught up in an orbit so close to its star that the whole planet heats up to an unimaginably high temperature, and its mass is slowly being sucked up as it hurtles around the star extremely fast.
The planet is roughly the size of Jupiter. However, it appears to be larger because the molten temperature of its parent star has caused WASP-12b to balloon up.
As a result, this poor planet loses an incredible 5.9 billion Imperial tons (6 billion metric tons) of mass per second. It’s being torn apart so quickly that it’s no longer a sphere but looks more like a stretched-out egg.
#6 Gliese 581 c
This planet is very special because it’s been voted by the scientific community as one of the top three exoplanets likely to support alien life.
However, it’s very different than the Earth. It orbits a red dwarf star. So, if you looked up into the sky, it’s star would always be a deep crimson red color.
The planet is tidally locked, which means it doesn’t rotate on its axis, just like our moon’s relationship to Earth.
So one side of this planet is always facing away from its star, and the other always faces towards it.
The side of Gliese 581c that is always facing its red dwarf star is so blisteringly hot that if you were to stand there, it would melt you alive.
However, the opposite side of the planet facing away from the star is so cold that you would instantly freeze. So, you may be wondering how this extremely violent planet could possibly support life similar to humans.
There is a narrow strip of land halfway between its hot side and its icy side, which is just the perfect temperature to support life. But, be careful not to take a step on the wrong side, or you will most certainly be either toast or a popsicle.
In 2008, we sent a message from Earth directly at Gliese 581c, and it’s expected to reach the planet in 2029.
According to some researchers, the Gliese 581 system is relatively close to Earth, at 20.37 light-years (119 trillion miles or 192 trillion km) away in the direction of the constellation of Libra.
It was discovered on August 11, 2009. According to researchers, this planet is actually 1000 light-years from our Earth.
This planet is in the Scorpius constellation. What makes this giant of a planet so peculiar is its sheer size.
It is 1.9 times the size of Jupiter, which is the largest planet in our solar system. It’s so large that theoretically, it should not exist, according to scientists. It breaks the laws of how large a planet can actually get. For its size, it also has an extremely low density.
Because of this, it fits into a unique class of planets called puffy planets. Yes, that’s actually a scientific term.
Puffy planets are planets with an extremely large radius and a very low density for their size. But that’s not all that makes WASP-17b. So strange, it also has a retrograde orbit which means it rotates in the opposite direction to its host star.
#8 HD 188753 Ab
This hierarchical triple star system is approximately 149 light-years away from Earth in the constellation of Cygnus, the swan.
This three-star planet which goes by its catalog name of HD 188753 ab, sits within the triple star system HD 188753.
If you could live on this planet, you would have three shadows and experience constant eclipses as its three parent stars cross each other’s path.
You could also see some of the strangest and most beautiful sunsets and sunrises in the universe. This system’s primary star is similar to our Sun, with the mass only 6% larger and a stellar classification of G8V.
#9 GJ 1214 b
This planet was discovered in December 2009.
Now imagine, you are in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The sky is blue with fluffy white clouds, but there is no land to be seen.
In every direction, there is just endless water. Well, that’s exactly what it would be like if you were to visit this planet.
GJ 1214b is 47 light-years away from Earth. Its catalog name of GJ 1214b because it’s made up entirely of water.
Many scientists have nicknamed this planet “the water world.” The entire surface of this planet is one giant continuous ocean.
It remains nothing but water until you eventually hit the planet’s core, which is coated in the thick layer of solid ice.
However, this isn’t any ordinary ice. It’s not the kind of ice you would find in your freezer or outside on a frozen lake. This isn’t ice due to cold temperatures.
Instead, the water in the planet’s core is under such immense pressure from the weight of the surface that its core has been compressed into solid ice. This is a very special form of ice known to scientists as Ice VII (ice seven).
This is a planet discovered by Kepler Space Telescope in January 2015.
Kepler-438b is 470 light-years away from the Earth.
This planet is very strange, not because it has any extreme features, but quite the opposite, because it is, to date, the most Earth-like planet we have ever found.
The Earth Similarity Index (ESI) is a standard measure of how similar another planet is to Earth, with the score of one (1) being identical to the Earth in every way and a score of zero (0) being nothing like Earth.
Kepler 438 b boasts an impressive ESI of 0.88, making Kepler 438b super rare and very special. It has all the right prerequisites for alien life.
Most importantly, it is a rocky world, just like Earth. Its proximity to its host star puts it in what scientists call the “goldilocks zone,” which is the holy grail of space exploration.
The goldilocks zone is when a planet is not too close to its parent star that it’s too hot for life; yet, it’s not too far away that it’s too cold.
Water is essential to life. So, where there is water, there is probably life. However, in order to have a complex life, there has to be liquid water, which most of the time can only occur in the goldilocks zone.
So, Kepler-438b, a rocky planet in the goldilocks zone, is highly likely to have liquid water, and therefore, life. This makes it one of the most interesting exoplanets we have ever discovered.
HAT-P-7b is also called Kepler 2b. It was discovered in 2008. It is an extrasolar planet. It orbits very close to its host star.
Due to its closeness to the host star, the dayside remains so hot that a person can melt there is a fraction of a second.
The nightside is so cold that it wouldn’t take a second for a person to freeze. This is one of the darkest planets ever observed in the visible universe.
This planet absorbs 97% of the visible light that strikes it, which means 3% of it reflects back.
HAT P 7b is located in the Cygnus star constellation. It is about 1000 light-years away from Earth.
On the night side of this exoplanet, high precipitation of aluminum oxide (corundum) is found in the atmosphere.
Because corundum gems are rubies and sapphires, one can describe the hypothetical weather on the planet’s night side as raining “rubies and sapphires.” This planet also suffers from violent storms.
This is the hottest exoplanet ever found, discovered in 2016. It is so infernally hot that it’s literally ripping apart hydrogen molecules in its atmosphere!
A “Hot Jupiter” are massive gas giants that orbit so close to their stars that they are too hot to sustain life.
KELT-9b is a superhot Jupiter that resides 670 light-years from Earth. It weighs about three times the mass of Jupiter. It boasts surface temperature of 7800° F (4300° C).
NASA has found that molecules cannot stay together in the hot atmosphere of this planet.
KELT- 9b is also tidally locked, meaning one side always faces its host star, and the other is always away from the star and its heat.
The question becomes, could life actually exist here considering its atmosphere?
The answer is that this planet is probably uninhabitable due to the high probability of violent weather and unaccommodating temperatures.
#13 PSR J1719-1438 b
PSR J1719-1483 b is a gas giant that orbits around its star PSR J1719-1438.
As the star name implies, it is a pulsar. More specifically, it’s a millisecond pulsar which makes it a pulsar planet. It was discovered in 2011 by the pulsar timing method.
As pulsars rotate, they emit radio waves that are detected as pulses. Planets that revolve around the pulsar cause the pulsar to move slightly, causing variations in the timing of pulses.
It is an interesting planet when compared to Earth. This is the densest planet ever discovered at nearly 20 times the density of Jupiter.
It is also slightly more massive than Jupiter. Its mass is 385 times the mass of the Earth, and its radius is about 6.47 times that. It’s also 271 times the volume of Earth, about 168.39 trillion cubic miles (271 trillion cubic km).
The gravitational acceleration of this planet is 98.64 yards (90.2 meters) per second squared, about 9.19 times Earth’s. Thus, this planet is most likely largely composed of crystalline carbon but with a density far greater than that of diamonds.