Monday, May 21, 2012

Witnessing The Death Of An Exoplanet

Artist concept of the curious events going at the star named KIC 12557548. Credit: MIT

Doomed Mercury-Sized Exoplanet May Be Turning to Dust -- Universe Today

The old saying of the universe being stranger than we can imagine definitely applies to a newfound exoplanet orbiting a star about 1,500 light years from Earth. Researchers using the Kepler space observatory have detected what appears to be a planet about the size of Mercury literally turning to dust. A long tail of debris — almost like a comet’s tail — is following the planet as it whirls around the star, KIC 12557548. Scientists think the planet could be evaporating under the blistering heat of the star, and that by analyzing the dust, they could decipher the history of the planet. But they better hurry. According to the team’s calculations, the planet will completely disintegrate within 100 million years.

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My Comment: I suspect that the info that they are getting is awesome.

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