Thursday, May 20, 2010
Star Gobbles up a Planet, Hubble Finds
Written by John Zipperer at 1:03 PM
If you think you're having a bad day, it's nothing like the bad 10 million years this orbiting guy's having.
I'll let NASA explain: "This is an artist's concept of the exoplanet WASP-12b. The planet is only 2 million miles from its sunlike parent star — a fraction of Earth's distance from the Sun. Gravitational tidal forces from the star stretch the planet into an egg shape. The planet is so hot that it has puffed up to the point where its outer atmosphere spills onto the star. An accretion bridge streams toward the star and material is smeared into a swirling disk. The planet may be completely devoured by the star in 10 million years. The planet is too far away for the Hubble Space Telescope to photograph, but this interpretation is based in part on analysis of Hubble spectroscopic and photometric data."
In related news, KFC has announced plans to begin serving exoplanets to its customers on earth.
Image credit: NASA, ESA, and G. Bacon (STScI); science credit: NASA, ESA, and C. Haswell (The Open University, UK).