Credit: NASA, ESA, and G. Bacon (STScI)

Recently, a team of astronomers discovered a planet that puzzles them – a pitch black planet that swallows all light. The mysterious planet called ‘WASP-12b’ is twice the size of Jupiter and belongs to the group of planets called “Hot Jupiters” – a group of large and extremely hot gas planets.

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These planets often have very narrow orbits around their respective stars, and it takes just over a day for WASP-12b to orbit its Sun-like star WASP-12A about 1400 light-years away. The black planet is tidally locked and always turns the same side towards its star, just as our own Moon. Because it is so close to its parent star, the gravitational pull of the star has stretched WASP-12b into an egg shape.