Scientists find young planet being destroyed by its star

Scientists find young planet being destroyed by its star

Scientists find young planet being destroyed by its star

In fact, it's one of the youngest planets ever discovered.

"A handful of known planets are in similarly small orbits", said astronomer Christopher Johns-Krull in a Rice University press release, "but because this star is only 2 million years old this is one of the most extreme examples".

Hot Jupiters also known as roaster planets are giant exoplanets that orbit close to their parent stars. And PTFO8-8695b, its planet, is even more impressive.

Artist's impression of the dying planet.

Johns-Krull adds, there is simply no other way how the planet's surface can produce this illuminating effect which means that the gas is now filling a larger region where the gravitational forces of the planet is no longer powerful enough to contain it.

"We compared our evidence against every every other scenario we could imagine, and the weight of the evidence suggests this is one of the youngest planets yet observed". It is roughly twice the mass of Jupiter, and though it is much less massive than its star - just like Jupiter in our solar system - it is an enormous planet and so exerts quite a pull, says Penev.

The star was young - just about 2 million to 3 million years old - and young stars are often covered in sunspots that make then gutter and flare unpredictably. Johns-Krull said finding such young planets is challenging because there are relatively few candidate stars that are young enough and bright enough to view in sufficient detail with existing telescopes. These Giant exoplanets orbit close to their parent stars.

PTFO8-8695 b was identified in 2012 by a worldwide survey called the Palomar Transit Factory, but even though we've only known about it for a very short time, the jury's out on how long exactly this baby (maybe) planet has left.

A major problem is that nobody knows this planet's fate, said Johns-Krull. This exoplanet most likely formed at a farther orbit from its host star and mysteriously migrated to a point where it is now being destroyed. It takes the plant just 11 hours to complete a single orbit around the star which is incredibly rare for a young planet. According to Johns-Krull, it is unknown how quickly the planet will lose its mass.

The new study has been accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal.

"In 2012, there was no solid evidence for planets around 2 million-year-old stars", said Lowell Observatory astronomer Lisa Prato. This led to its host star's gravity taking over where the gas is now falling into the star, slowly sucking it in and killing this planet. The newborn star's gravity appears to be pulling away the outer layers of the Jupiter-like world.

Using spectroscopic analysis, which divides light up into its component parts, they identified two separate sources of a type of light emitted by highly energized hydrogen atoms, called H-alpha.

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