(ORDO NEWS) — The strange exoplanet WASP-12b , known as “hot Jupiter”, has attracted the attention of astronomers for many years.
The gas giant is orbiting so close to its star that its atmosphere is extremely hot – so hot that scientists still cannot explain how this object could have formed.
According to a new, refined study , the exoplanet WASP-12b continues to approach its parent star and, after a few million years, will simply collapse onto it.
Mysterious exoplanet WASP-12b
This exoplanet absorbs 94% of the light incident on it, which is why it can hardly be seen in the optical range. However, the absorption of large amounts of heat makes it easier to observe and study in the infrared range.
Given that WASP-12b rotates around its star in less than 24 hours, astronomers have an excellent opportunity to study how the exoplanet’s orbit has changed over different periods of time.
Thanks to the NASA TESS space telescope , which was launched on April 18, 2018 for the discovery of exoplanets by the transit method, it was possible to establish that the distance between WASP-12b and the parent star is constantly decreasing and in 2.9 million years “hot Jupiter” will face a fiery death. This is about 100,000 years earlier than previously predicted.
For humans, 2.9 million years is an unimaginably huge time span, but by astronomical standards, WASP-12b is already on its deathbed.
Unfortunately, WASP-12b would never have a happy ending: even if the exoplanet’s orbit were stable, the stellar heat would still burn up the entire atmosphere for the next 10 million years.
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