: Why does the planet WASP-12B absorb 94% of the light on its surface ?


: Why does the planet WASP-12B absorb 94% of the light on its surface ?

In: 16

Someone painted it with vanta black?

No seriously it’s just the surface composition as a really low albedo.

The atmosphere of the sun side of WASP-12B is so thoroughly irradiated by the star that it has a [very unusual composition](https://esahubble.org/news/heic1714/) – almost entirely monatomic hydrogen and helium, like a very diffuse star. I haven’t found anybody explaining why that would make the albedo so low (I’m pretty sure the [paper](http://www.spacetelescope.org/static/archives/releases/science_papers/heic1714/heic1714a.pdf) doesn’t).

I think it might be kind of like those [ultrablack pigments consisting of a forest of vertical nanotubes](https://external-content.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=http%3A%2F%2Fpubs.rsc.org%2Fservices%2Fimages%2FRSCpubs.ePlatform.Service.FreeContent.ImageService.svc%2FImageService%2FArticleimage%2F2015%2FRA%2Fc5ra15146e%2Fc5ra15146e-f1_hi-res.gif&f=1&nofb=1&ipt=61f9a5c12d7dded291c37245eec5e756f5fc9b80db4853465a13fe07636f078d&ipo=images) – the light basically gets stuck in a valley. Instead of a valley with solid walls, you’ve got a diffuse atmosphere of very small molecules, meaning the average photon gets very deep into the atmosphere before it hits anything – and unless it reflects perfectly back the way it came, there’s actually now a lot more matter in it’s path than a normal atmosphere.