MessageToEagle.com - Researchers of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the
American space agency, along with others have detected an exoplanet that appears to be evaporating under the intense
heat of its parent star.
The planet is located approximately 1,500 light-years away from Earth and orbits so close to its parent star,
that the intense heat is turning it to dust.
This close proximity to the star will decide about the planet's rather short future.
According to the scientists, this alien world will not survive much longer than 100 million years, an extremely
short time frame in astronomical terms.
Even now, the planet is followed in orbit by a comet tail-like cloud of debris, made out of materials removed from this
The exoplanet is only slightly larger than Mercury, so it won't take its parent star too long to fully erode it.
Observations indicate that the star-facing half of the planet may be heated to temperatures as high as 3,600 degrees
Fahrenheit (1,982 degrees C). The world, which orbits its star in just 15 hours, is believed to be tidally locked to its
parent, like the Moon is to Earth.
Due to the intense heat, even the rocks making up the planet's surface melt and evaporate. They are then cast out
of the atmosphere by intense winds, forming the world's tail.
“We think this dust is made up of submicron-sized particles,” Saul Rappaport explains.
An artistic illustration of the exoplanet KIC 12557548b, orbiting its parent star followed by a huge dust tail
Image credits: NASA / ESA / Alfred Vidal-Madjar (Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris / CNRS)
“It would be like looking through a Los Angeles smog,” adds the expert, who holds an appointment as a professor
emeritus of physics at the Institute.
The telescope observed that the brightness of the star KIC 12557548 was dipping once every 15 hours, but by varying
Rappaport and his colleagues came across a curious light pattern from a star dubbed KIC 12557548.
The group examined the star’s light curves, a graph of its brightness over time, and found that its light
dropped by different intensities every 15 hours — suggesting that something was blocking the star regularly,
but by varying degrees.
After trying out several explanations for the puzzling data, including the possibility that a planetary duo
— two planets orbiting each other — also orbited the star.
“I’m not sure how we came to this epiphany. But it had to be something that was fundamentally changing.
It was not a solid body, but rather, dust coming off the planet,” Professor Rappaport concludes.
The data were collected by the NASA Kepler Telescope and the new study is published in the latest issue of Astrophysical Journal.
Hidden Misshapen Celestial "Wonder"
It is one of the brightest and strangest objects in the Milky Way - the corpse of a star that exploded around 1000 years ago.
Only a handful of such young supernova remnants are known.
The object named G350.1-0.3 is also incredibly small (only eight light years across) and young in astronomical terms.
Mercury Surprises Scientists
On March 17, MESSENGER (MErcury Surface, Space Environment, GEochemistry, and Ranging) completed its one-year primary mission, orbiting Mercury, capturing nearly 100,000 images, and recording data
that reveals new information about the planet's core, topography, and the mysterious radar bright material in the permanently shadowed areas near the poles.
Living Earth Simulator - Supercomputer Predicting The Future
In Douglas Adams book the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy we encounter a machine called Deep Thought. It is the most powerful computer ever built. Deep Thought is capable of answering questions
concerning life, the Universe, and simply everything. Now scientists are planning to create a similar machine. It is called the Living Earth Simulator (LES).
Millennia Old Astronomical Secret Revealed
In 1943, an ancient papyrus was bought by the Cairo museum.
It was written in Hieratic and although portions of it were eaten away by ants, it was a very precious ancient document.
The papyrus contained three separate books dealing with astronomy. One of the books was the Cairo Calendar, and now it reveals an ancient astronomical secret...
Big Bang Machine Discovers Unknown Particle
Physicists at Cern have not yet been able to confirm the existence of
the elusive "God particle", but they have nevertheless made another interesting discovery
Scientists announced that the Large Hadron Collider, often referred to as the Big Bang machine has detected an unknown particle composed of three quarks.