For a long time, Earth was the weirdest planet we knew about. In our little corner of the universe, where Mercury is the hot one, Jupiter is the protective bigger brother, and Pluto is the one we kicked out of the club for breaking the rules, Earth is the crazy cat lady, hoarding billions of life forms.
But over the last 20 years the family has expanded to include over 3,600 exoplanets, and some of these distant relatives are far more unusual than we could’ve imagined.
There are planets where it rains rocks, planets where the wind whips around at seven times the speed of sound and planets where one year can last almost a million years. Suddenly Earth seems pretty boring, so let’s take a quick tour of some of the most bizarre exoplanets that have been spotted so far.
The Earth-sized Iceball
With a name like a cat walking across a keyboard, OGLE-2016-BLG-1195Lb is about the same mass as Earth and orbits at roughly the same distance from its star. But that’s where the similarities end: its host star is so dim that scientists can’t decide whether it should even be classified as a star. As a result, it’s giving OGLE the cold shoulder, meaning the planet is probably chillier than Pluto.