Far off star eating planet...

hs-2010-15-a-large_web-660x528Six hundred light years away from Earth, an exoplanet is being devoured by its sun and, thanks to the Hubble telescope, Earth bound scientists get to have a front row seat for it.

WASP 12B, orbiting a scant 2 million miles from its star, has a surface temperature of just a hair over 2800 degrees Fahrenheit, enough to scorch the surface of the planet.  The smoldering heat, combined with the overwhelming gravity of its Sun thus pulling it ever closer, means that in just a few 10 million years WASP will eventually be destroyed y it's Sun; it’s surface burned to cinders, it's mass consumed whole by the massive burning giant.

planet-wasp-12b

“All sorts of things that we would never expected to find we’re finding,” said Carole Haswell, an astronomer at The Open University in Great Britain who is heading up the work. “Our preconceptions about what planetary systems might look like were shaped by what our own solar system looked like, particularly Star Trek,” she joked.

Of course, all of this really means nothing.  A single planet being consumed y a star too far away to be of any consequence to earth is little more than science project to the exoplanetologist (people who study planets outside of our solar system).

That being said, the find does give those exoplantetologists yet another feather for their hats. 

To date, 455 exoplanets have been discovered, located in the many of the hundreds of galaxies known to be floating around out there.

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