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ScienceShot: Alien Planet Being Eaten Alive

20 May 2010 5:21 pm
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Looking for long-term real estate investments? Avoid WASP-12b. The giant exoplanet, located about 600 light-years away in the constellation Auriga, is not long for its solar system. WASP-12 circles so close to its sun—it takes only a little more than an Earth day to complete one orbit—that its surface temperature exceeds 1500°C, making it the hottest alien world ever found. What's more, astronomers report in the 10 May issue of The Astrophysical Journal Letters, the planet's atmosphere is being slowly ripped away by the star's gravity. In only 10 million years or so, barely the wink of an eye on astronomical timescales, WASP-12b will boil away entirely.

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