If you’ve gotten a penchant for each the spooky and the celestial, then Nasa has such sights to point out you: the Nasa Exoplanets Twitter account is now the Nasa “Hexoplanets” account for the Month of October, and highlighting a number of the more hellish, ghoulish, and mind-bending destinations within the cosmos.
Exoplanets are alien worlds found around stars aside from the Sun, and astronomers have identified greater than 5,000 of them up to now. The planets are incredibly varied, with some coming in at near Earth-like size and mass to superheated gas giants larger than Jupiter.
The conditions that must exist on a few of these exoplanets are unbelievably weird, or intensively hostile to life — and ideal for Nasa to spotlight as a part of the spooky Halloween season.
Take HD 189733b for example. A cobalt blue gas giant just barely larger than Jupiter orbiting near its star around 64 light years from Earth.
“This far-off blue planet may appear like a friendly haven – but don’t be deceived! Weather here is deadly,” reads a free horror movie styled poster of the exoplanet available from Nasa. “The planet’s cobalt blue color comes from a hazy, blow-torched atmosphere containing clouds laced with glass. Howling winds send the storming glass sideways at 5,400 mph (2km/s), whipping all in a sickening spiral. It’s death by 1,000,000 cuts on this slasher planet!”
A brief video preview shared by the Hexoplanets Twitter account drives the purpose home with text crying, “Deadly, torrential rains of glass, blowing sideways!”
Then there’s the skeleton planet whose star is stripping the flesh from its bones, one other gas giant referred to as HD 209458 b.
HD 209458 b lies 158 light years from Earth and is just barely smaller than Jupiter. That’s a giant planet to orbit its star in only 3.5 days, and that close, tight orbital path will eventually spell doom for HD 209458 b.
Nasa has gathered more short profiles of spooky spooky exoplanets on a dedicated webpage, including Hat-P-11 b, a Neptune-like planet around 123 light years from Earth, a “Frankenstein planet” with a lightning filled sky “giving any monster who needs it a charge.” YZ Ceti d, meanwhile, is a rocky planet just barely larger than Earth orbiting a star about 12 light years away, and possess a blood red sky fit for Dracula, and Trappist-1 b is one other super Earth exoplanet, one lit with the werewolf friendly light of 16 full moons.
The spooky features of the universe transcend exoplanets, nevertheless, and Nasa is offering downloadable posters highlighting a number of the weirder features of the cosmos, a “galaxy of horrors.” These posters include “Zombie Worlds” near radioactive pulsars, the hungry black hole at the middle of our galaxy, a “Graveyard Galaxy” that ceased creating stars only a billion years after the massive bang, and the mysterious dark energy that’s driving the expansion of the universe.