Exoplanet

This artist’s impression depicts an exoplanet similar to the newly discovered WASP-18b. As seen from the planet, the host star spans an angle of more than 30° and hovers menacingly at a fixed position in the sky.

Credit: C. CARREAU/ESA/Nature

The odd, fiery planet is so close to its star and so large that it is triggering tremendous plasma tides on the star. Those powerful tides are in turn warping the planet’s zippy less-than-a-day orbit around its star. The result: an ever-closer tango of death, with the planet eventually spiraling into the star.

Credit: AP

~ by sternbo on August 28, 2009.

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