In a recent study, scientists identified a distant and highly metallic exoplanet with a perplexing composition, according to Astronomy & Physics. This planet, known as LTT9779 b, is more than 260 light-years away from Earth and has an unusually high albedo, which means it reflects a frightening amount of light into space from its atmosphere.

When compared to other planets, this metal planet is an anomaly when it comes to its proximity to its home star, with an estimated surface temperature of 2,000 degrees Celsius.

Scientists are perplexed by what’s happening on the surface of a metal planet, which is reflecting an incredible amount of light back into space.

Observatory of Côte d’Azur researcher Vivien Parmentier, who co-authored the study, suggests that most planets that occupy territory so close to their home star would typically have their atmosphere vaporized due to the extreme heat. However, in the case of LTT9779 b, the metal planet has a distinct atmosphere made up of metallic clouds, resulting in a thicker atmosphere that is more difficult to displace. The metal planet’s clouds also reflect starlight, keeping the planet’s surface from becoming too heated.

Though a totally metal world with titanium clouds seems like the home planet of some advanced alien culture from a gloomy science-fiction film, we can’t deny that we’ve discovered something fresh and bright that we can’t stop looking at.

Now that the James Webb Telescope has been officially (and successfully) in operation for a year, we can only hope that researchers will eventually point its high-sensitivity infrared telescopes in the direction of the metal planet to get a more detailed look and thus a better understanding of how this unique exoplanet functions.

Categorized in: