Friday, May 21, 2010

Hubble Finds a Star Devouring a World



Science Daily: Hubble Finds a Star Eating a Planet.

ScienceDaily (May 21, 2010) — The hottest known planet in the Milky Way galaxy may also be its shortest-lived world. The doomed planet is being eaten by its parent star, according to observations made by a new instrument on NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph (COS). The planet may only have another 10 million years left before it is completely devoured.

The planet, called WASP-12b, is so close to its sunlike star that it is superheated to nearly 2,800 degrees Fahrenheit and stretched into a football shape by enormous tidal forces. The atmosphere has ballooned to nearly three times Jupiter's radius and is spilling material onto the star. The planet is 40 percent more massive than Jupiter.

This effect of matter exchange between two stellar objects is commonly seen in close binary star systems, but this is the first time it has been seen so clearly for a planet.

"We see a huge cloud of material around the planet, which is escaping and will be captured by the star. We have identified chemical elements never before seen on planets outside our own solar system," says team leader Carole Haswell of The Open University in Great Britain.

Haswell and her science team's results were published in the May 10, 2010 issue of The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

6 comments:

Louis Hissink said...

Devouring the planet or is it a planet birth and it's being ejected out of the star

OilIsMastery said...

Interesting question...=)

Louis Hissink said...

If the only force you allow is gravity, then the two have to be moving towards each other but if the electrical forces are in oepration, and as this is a binary, then we also have a repulsive force in action.

If the system is a binary one, then previously the original star, because of electrical stress, fissioned into two stars to reduce the electrical stress by increasing the surface area.

The planet might be an additional body ejected by one of the stars as it equilibrates with is plasma environment.

Jeffery Keown said...

There is no evidence to suggest that stars belch forth planets. Do you have a link to such a thing?

Louis Hissink said...

Jeffery Keown,

You might be looking at the evidence in the above image, but otherwise if the theory of accretion is as widely held as it is, who would go lookink for evidence for something they don't believe is possible.

Jeffery Keown said...

So you've got none? I went looking for evidence of the nebular hypothesis. Found plenty. If you have nothing, that's fine.