Newborn Planet is Getting Destroyed by its Own Star, says new research

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Newborn Planet is Getting Destroyed by its Own Star, says new research
Newborn Planet is Getting Destroyed by its Own Star, says new research

Researchers have spotted a very young “hot Jupiter” exoplanet orbiting unsafely close to its host star. The “baby planet” is probably going to be ripped into pieces by the star’s forces.

According to a paper that has been submitted for publication in the Astrophysical Journal, this planet, which orbits its parent star every 11 hours, is locked in a slow “death spiral” that will eventually tear it to shreds.

“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,” lead author Christopher Johns-Krull from the Rice University in Texas, according to whom there is “compelling evidence” that this planet exists, said in a statement released Thursday.

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“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,” he added. “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.”

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The researchers believe that the planet — named PTFO8-8695 b — is slowly losing its outer layers, which are being mercilessly ripped off by the gravity of the parent star. The planet is almost twice the mass of Jupiter but is only 3 to 4 percent the size of the star it orbits.

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