Hubble Space Telescope has captured evidence of a Sun-like star
“eating” a nearby planet.
knew that stars were capable of swallowing planets in orbit around them, but
this is the first time the event has been “seen” so clearly.
the planet was too far away for Hubble to photograph, scientists have created
an image of it, based on analysis of the telescope’s data.
discovery was published in the The Astrophysical Journal Letters.
researchers say the planet, which is called Wasp-12b, may only have another 10
million years left before it is completely devoured.
is so close to its star that it completes an orbit in 1.1 Earth days and is superheated
to more than 1,500C.
of this proximity, the planet’s atmosphere has ballooned to nearly three times
the radius of Jupiter and is spilling material on to the star.
Haswell from the UK’s Open University led the research team. She explained:
“We see a huge cloud of material around the planet which is escaping and
will be captured by the star.”
detection of the cloud enabled scientists to draw conclusions about how it was
Haswell said: “We have identified chemical elements never before seen on
planets outside our own Solar System.”
is a dwarf star located approximately 600 light-years away in the constellation
exoplanet was first discovered by the UK’s Wide Area Search for Planets (Wasp)