Strangest exoplanets of 2021

A large swath of exoplanets were discovered last year, some so strange or wondrous that they are literally the definition of otherworldly. Pictured in the illustration above is GJ 367b, one of the smaller exoplanets ever discovered. Just 55% the mass of Earth, it orbits its star, a red dwarf, in an incredibly swift eight-hour period. It's thought to resemble Mercury's make-up, but because it's so close to its star, it's bombarded with massive radiation, and during the day the temperature is a scorching 2,700 degrees F.

Yet, the weather of 367b looks positively chilly compared to T01-2109b, an "ultrahot Jupiter," where temps on the surface can rise to 6,000 degrees F! Located a distant 855 light-years away, the gas giant is the second hottest exoplanet yet discovered.

The baby of the bunch is 2M0437b, estimated to be just several million years old according to astronomers at the University of Hawaii, who made the discovery. Like a cookie just out of the oven, the exoplanet is still warm from the energy discharged during its formation.

Spotted in a binary-star system, b Centauri b, is around 325 light-years from Earth. The star it orbits is so gigantic (six times the size of our sun) that scientists were surprised that planets could even exist in such a system. Accordingly, b Centauri b is supersized to match its star, with a mass around 11 times that of Jupiter-- so big that it could almost be classified as a brown dwarf rather than a planet.

Check out more of the new exo-worlds here.


(Source:; January 3, 2022;
Back to INF

Loading please wait...