Planets tend to suffer the consequences as the stars they orbit go through different phases. And in about three million years, the exoplanet known as WASP-12b will cease to exist.
The gas giant exoplanet and the star it orbits are about 600 light-years from Earth in the Auriga constellation. The planet is so close to its star it completes one orbit around every 26 hours. And this orbit has sent WASP-12b on a spiraling death dance towards the star.
A study of the star and planet published last month in the Astrophysical Journal Letters.
The exoplanet is considered a “hot Jupiter,” a class of exoplanets that are similar in size to gas giants like Jupiter, except they have blazing hot temperatures.
“Ever since the discovery of the first ‘hot Jupiter’ in 1995 — a discovery that was recognized with this year’s Nobel Prize in Physics — we have wondered how long such planets can survive,” said Joshua Winn, study co-author and a professor of astrophysical sciences at Princeton University.
Continue to the full article at CNN.com, “This Exoplanet is in a Death Dance with its Star” by Ashley Strickland.
View the paper, “The Orbit of WASP-12b Is Decaying” on The Astrophysical Journal Letters.