An exoplanet 1,100 light years from us is being torn to pieces by its host star.
An alien world is getting ripped apart by its own sun, scientists have found in an astonishing new discovery.
A “hot Jupiter” exoplanet called PTF08-8695 is being ripped apart by the gravity of its 2-million-year-old host star, according to a Rice University statement.
The planet appears to be in a slow death spiral, scientists observed. The planet likely formed farther away from the star, and then gradually migrated toward the point it is now, which is too close to the sun for it to survive.
The exoplanet is about 1,100 light years from us in the Orion constellation. The planet orbits its star once every 11 hours — extremely close, considering it takes 365 days for us to orbit our star.
PTFO8-8695b was first identified back in 2012 by the Palomar Transient Factory’s Orion survey. Scientists have used brightness dips caused by a planet crossing the star’s face as a way to determine the existence of exoplanets.
“A handful of known planets are in similarly small orbits, but because this star is only 2 million years old this is one of the most extreme examples,” said Rice University astronomer Christopher Johns-Krull, lead author of the study. “We don’t yet have absolute proof this is a planet because we don’t yet have a firm measure of the planet’s mass, but our observations go a long way toward verifying this really is a planet. We compared our evidence against every other scenario we could imagine, and the weight of the evidence suggests this is one of the youngest planets yet observed.”