WeatherTalk: A newly discovered planet is hot enough to melt iron

The planet has a daytime temperature of around 1,500 degrees Celsius, or about 2,700 degrees Fahrenheit.

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The Dec. 2 issue of "Science" contains a report about a recently discovered bizarre little planet, located about 31 light years or nine parsecs from Earth, which has astronomers excited about their findings. Planet GJ367b is about three-fourths the size of our planet but its estimated average density is close to that of iron.

The planet is thought to consist mostly of iron surrounded by a thin layer of rock and a very thin atmosphere. It orbits its sun, a red dwarf star, once every eight hours, and is so close to its sun that the planet's surface has a daytime temperature of around 1,500 degrees Celsius, or about 2,700 degrees Fahrenheit, which is almost hot enough to cause the iron to melt. If GJ367b does have an atmosphere, its composition could consist of material that has boiled off the planet's surface.

John Wheeler is Chief Meteorologist for WDAY, a position he has had since May of 1985. Wheeler grew up in the South, in Louisiana and Alabama, and cites his family's move to the Midwest as important to developing his fascination with weather and climate. Wheeler lived in Wisconsin and Iowa as a teenager. He attended Iowa State University and achieved a B.S. degree in Meteorology in 1984. Wheeler worked about a year at WOI-TV in central Iowa before moving to Fargo and WDAY..
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