The search for exoplanets has intensified in this century with the advancement of space technology. At this time, scientists look for celestial bodies in other solar systems that share similar conditions for life, just like Earth while studying how they evolve over time.
However, the infinite possibilities in the universe have also surprised us with extreme celestial bodies. One of them is Kepler-70b (also called KOI-55b), an untraditional world discovered in 2011 by NASA‘s Kepler telescope, so far the most prolific in discovering extrasolar planets.
Located 4,015 light-years from Earth, in the constellation Cygnus, Kepler-70b orbits a star known as Kepler-70. Its orbit around it is located at 00.6 astronomical units, a distance 65 times less than the orbit of Mercury, the planet closest to the Sun.
Due to this proximity, he completes his return or his ‘year’ in just 5.76 hours.
But Kepler-70b has an even more unique feature: its heat is 6,800 C °, a temperature even more intense than the surface of the Sun (6,000 C °). According to NASA’s Exoplanet Exploration program, it is so hot that it is currently evaporating and will soon be just another victim in the vastness of the universe.
The reason for the extreme heat of Kepler-70b, believed to be a gas giant as immense as Jupiter, is hidden in the evolution of its star.
According to NASA, the mass of a star determines its life cycle after its red giant phase; that is, when the hydrogen inside it has been used up and it begins to use heavier elements for nuclear fusion. In that state, its outer shell begins to expand and engulf the closest celestial bodies.
Later, the most massive ones can go into a supernova, but the ones with the lowest mass, like Kepler 70, shrink into a White dwarf and they start to cool to death.
This is believed to have occurred with the sun of Kepler-70b about 18.4 million years ago, when it became a red giant and destroyed the atmospheres of the planets in its neighborhood until they evaporated. However, due to its large size, Kepler-70b survived after being swallowed, although it ended up as a scorched iron core.
According to scientists, its simple existence could exemplify the fate of Mercury, Venus, and probably Earth, when our Sun swells like a red giant in about 5 billion years.