Hubble telescope catches planet eaten by star

21:07, May 25, 2010      

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The Hubble space telescope has observed a planet in the Milky Way galaxy being devoured by its parent star, media reports said Tuesday.

The doomed planet, dubbed WASP-12b, is to be found about 600 light-years away in the winter constellation Auriga, and is the hottest known planet in the galaxy with a surface temperature at around 1,500 degrees Celsius, researchers said.

The planet is so close to its parent star that it can make the orbit around the star in slightly more than 24 hours, and is being stretched into the shape of an elipse by enormous tidal forces.

Previously, scientists had concluded in theory that planets can get absorbed by stars when they get too near to each other. However, it is the first time the phenomenon has been observed so clearly.

Researchers made the observation by using a new instrument called the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph that was installed on Hubble last year.

Source: Xinhua

(Editor:王寒露)

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