I'm scared

The 6 spookiest planets of the cosmos

These worlds will make you grateful for Earth.

Originally Published: 

The cosmos can often be frightening.

From vicious black holes that swallow up everything around them to undetectable dark matter that pushes the boundaries of the expanding universe, the silent void of space is as spooky as it is mysterious.

But perhaps nothing is more terrifying than the thought of ending up on a fiery world with raging volcanoes, iron rain, or hellish temperatures. These horrifying planets are perhaps the last place you want to be, especially if you’re alone.

Here’s Inverse’s guide to the planets where you least want to spend your Halloween.

6. The heavy metal rains of WASP-76b

Located around 640 light years away from Earth, the exoplanet WASP-76b has scorching temperatures, a permanently dark side, and molten iron rains.

You do not want to be caught outside while it’s raining on this planet.


The ultra-hot planet was discovered in 2016, and is almost as massive as Jupiter. It orbits around its star in 1.8 days and is tidally locked to its star, meaning the same side faces it at all times. As a result, the planet has one burning hot side that continuously faces the star and a cooler, constantly dark side that faces away from the star.

The planet’s dayside has high temperatures of above 4,352 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s so hot — almost too hot — that it separates molecules into atoms and causes metals such as iron to evaporate into the atmosphere. The surface on this side also receives thousands of times more radiation than the Earth receives from the Sun.

Meanwhile, the dark side of the planet is frigid — temperatures there go below 2,732 degrees Fahrenheit.

Because of this duality in temperatures between the exoplanet's day and night sides, the planet's surface has intense winds. Those winds carry the iron vapor from the hot dayside to the cool nightside.

As it crosses from the light to the dark side, it cools and transforms into rain that packs a pretty hefty punch.

5. The killer steam of GJ 1214b

This exoplanet is eerily similar to Earth, but with one steaming hot twist.

Gliese 1214 b is a Super-Earth orbiting a red dwarf star located only 40 light years away from our planet. This exoplanet turned out to be a water world, with even more water than Earth. But this isn’t the type of water you would want to lay next to due to the slight chance that you may get cooked alive.

The exoplanet has high temperatures of 446 degrees Fahrenheit and a thick, steamy atmosphere made up mostly of hydrogen and helium. As a result, its water is likely in the form of steam, high-pressure ice, or a hot viscous fluid.

The planet is in the habitable zone of GJ 1214 and has oxygen and water, but any life there is far from life as we know it.

4. The scorching shimmer of 55 Cancri e

While diamonds are usually your best friend, they are definitely an enemy when it comes to exoplanet 55 Cancri e.

The exoplanet is mostly made up of carbon in the form of diamonds and graphite.

It orbits a star called Copernicus, located only 41 light years away from Earth and only takes about 0.7 days to complete one orbit around its star. But the planet orbits so close to its star that its surface temperatures reach a burning 4800 degrees Fahrenheit.

55 Cancri e has a molten surface, with silicates in its atmosphere that condense into clouds on the tidally-locked planet's dark side. The clouds reflect the lava below, causing its dark skies to sparkle.

As romantic as that sounds, the exoplanet also oozes hot fluids. Due to its extreme temperatures and high pressure, the elements and compounds of the planet likely exist in a bizarre fluid state that combines the low viscosity of a gas and the high density of a liquid.

3. The pure chaos of HD 80606b

HD 80606b is an eccentric Hot Jupiter located 190 light years away from Earth known for hosting hell itself on its surface.

Every 111 days, HD 80606b goes from being 79 million miles away from its star to just 2.8 million miles away.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/G. Laughlin et al.

Astronomers discovered the planet in 2001, and it has a mass of 4.38 Jupiters and takes 111.4 days to complete one orbit of its star. Its wild orbit takes it from 79 million miles from its star before swinging it back to around 2.8 million miles. For comparison, Mercury only gets to 28 million miles away from the Sun at closest approach.

As a result, the planet has scorching temperatures that vary between 1000 to 2200 degrees Fahrenheit in a matter of hours. One side of the planet stays hotter than the other due to a mysterious hot spot.

2. The destitute loneliness of PSO J318.5-22

It’s always nighttime on this planet. PSO J318.5-22 is a rogue planet, meaning that it does not orbit a star. Instead, it just free-floats through the dark depth of space.

Planets that wander the galaxy without stars may be failed stars themselves, or have been booted from a young star system.


Shortly after they form, these rogue planets still maintain a slight glow from the heat of their formation. After they cool down, it is eternal lights out for extrasolar planets. Although it has no home star, the gas giant planet still maintains high temperatures of 1682 degrees Fahrenheit as it cools down from formation.

1. The hellworld LHS 3844b

The dark side of this hot super-Earth may be tectonically active, with a large amount of volcanic activity that rages on through the night.

LHS 3844b orbits around a red dwarf star located about 49 light years away in the constellation of Indus. The exoplanet is tidally locked, with one side permanently facing the star.

There is a significant contrast between its day and night sides, with temperatures on the dayside reaching 1,410 degrees Fahrenheit while dropping to a freezing minus 418 degrees Fahrenheit.

On its night side, astronomers expect countless volcanoes and a volcanic hemisphere burning up the planet in all its darkness while the dayside would have none.

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