April 19, 2024 at 9:28 am

This Egg-Shaped Planet Is Getting Obliterated By A Nearby Star

by Trisha Leigh

Source: NASA

It’s kind of wild to think there other planets out there, and other stars and moons and everything we look up at every night – the same, but different.

Of course, we don’t want to think of our own planet getting ripped apart by a star.

The egg-shaped planet in question is called WASP-12b, and it is currently on a collision course with its parent star.

Once they hit, WASP-12b will exist no more.

A new paper posits that this disintegration could happen much sooner than previously predicted.

Source: ESA/Hubble

Previous calculations suggested the process would take around 10 million years, but this team, out of the University of Padova, thinks it could be more like 3 million.

Lead author on the paper, Pietro Leonardi, spoke about their results.

“According to our calculations, the planet will crash into the star in just three million years, an incredibly short amount of time considering the star only appears to be three billion years old.”

They came to their conclusions by analyzing 28 observations of WASP-12b that were gathered by the Asiago Observatory over a 12 years.

WASP-12b is around 1200 lightyears from Earth in the constellation Auriga. It’s huge – twice the size of Jupiter – and is an ultra-hot gas giant.

It also sits a bit too close to its star for comfort.

Earth is around 93 million miles away from the Sun, while WASP-12b is just 2.1 million miles from its sun, and completes a full orbit every single day.

Source: Public Domain

The gravitational tides that result are also likely the cause of the planet’s egg-like shape.

Cool, right?

I wish we were going to be around in 3 million years to see the video and pictures of the big event.

If you think that’s impressive, check out this story about a “goldmine” of lithium that was found in the U.S. that could completely change the EV battery game.