Star "Eating" Superhot Planet's Atmosphere
Exoplanet's lost gases forming ring around star.
First described in 2008, the extrasolar planet—or exoplanet—WASP-12b is a Jupiter-like world that orbits its host star so tightly a year lasts just 26 hours.
This closeness means that a combination of heat from the star and from a gravitational tug-of-war called tidal heating brings the surface temperature to more than 4,700 degrees Fahrenheit (2,600 degrees Celsius).
New data show that WASP-12b's atmosphere is also being puffed up by the star's heat to the point that some of its gases are escaping.
But rather than being blown away by stellar winds, the lost atmosphere might be getting pulled toward the star to form a hot ring around the star, said study leader Shu-lin Li, an astronomer