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The Jupiter-sized exploplanet TrES-2b, shown here in an artist’s conception courtesy of David A. Aguilar of the Center for Astrophysics, is darker than the blackest coal.

It’s the size of Jupiter, darker than coal, and the 17th planet outside of our solar system that has been confirmed by NASA’s Kepler.

Late last week, it was confirmed that a gas giant known as TrES-2b was indeed a planet, according to a release from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA).

Here’s what astronomers know about TrES-2b:
– It’s 1,800° Fahrenheit
– It’s more than 4,500 trillion miles away (What?!?!)
– It’s tidally locked like our moon, so one side of the planet always faces its star.
– It’s darker than any planet or moon in our solar system

It’s not clear what is responsible for making this planet so extraordinarily dark,” stated David Spiegel, co-author on the paper reporting the research. “However, it’s not completely pitch black. It’s so hot that it emits a faint red glow, much like a burning ember or the coils on an electric stove.

Astronomers Spiegel of Princeton University and David Kipping of the CfA  made the discovery partly due to data provided by NASA’s Kepler spacecraft.

Do you know about Kepler? Its mission is to find Earth-like planets outside of our solar system. Since it’s launch into space in 2009, Kepler has found thousands – 1,235 to be exact – of planatery candidates, many the size of Jupiter.

Kepler is one of our favorite missions here at Space Oddities. You can keep up with Kepler’s discoveries by looking at the left-hand side of this page and clicking below “All eyes on Kepler.” You’ll be directed to NASA’s Kepler page, which contains tons of information about each confirmed exoplanet, the number of planetary candidates, and lots more.

Of course, we’ll keep you updated here, too.

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