Researchers found that WASP-12b would cease to exist in about 3 million years when it was sucked into its host star and caught on fire.
WASP-12b is a gaseous planet, 1.5 times the weight and almost twice the size of Jupiter, it is the hottest planet ever discovered, with a temperature of about 2250 degrees Celsius (half the temperature ). on the Sun) and its distance from the mother star is only 2% of the distance between the Earth and the Sun.
The team led by Monika Lendl from the University of Geneva observed the exoplanet WASP-189b in the constellation Libra using the European Space Agency’s exoplanet characterization satellite (Cheops). This is the first discovery of Cheops since its launch into space in December 2019. Although WASP-189b was first discovered in 2018, Cheops provides more details about this strange planet.
The gas giant WASP-12b and the orbiting star are located approximately 600 light years from Earth in the constellation Auriga. The planet is so close to its host star that it orbits every 26 hours. It is the narrow orbit that causes WASP-12b to fall in a fatal spiral towards the host star. The new research on this star system was published in December 2019 in the Astrophysical Journal Letters.
The exoplanet WASP-12b is classified as a “hot Jupiter,” which includes planets similar in size to Jupiter and extremely high temperatures. Joshua Winn, professor of astrophysics at Princeton University and co-author of the study, said he and his colleagues calculated the death rate of WASP-12b under the influence of the extremely strong gravitational force of the star. Master.
This planetary system is only 871 light years away. Because it is located so close to the mother star, the tidal force of the mother star deforms the egg-shaped planet and tears off its atmosphere with a mass of 189 million trillion tons per year.
The orbits of exoplanets gradually narrow over time. The planet and its host star attract each other due to gravity. This process attracts the planet to the host star. In three million years, WASP-12b will be burned by its host star.
The mass of gas ejected from the planet by the mother star’s tides forms a gas disk around the star and can be easily viewed with infrared telescopes, the researchers said. .
Since the discovery of WASP-12b in 2008, its trajectory has been decreasing every year. Based on new data from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, the team can be sure the planet is moving in a spiral direction towards the host star. This discovery is helping researchers determine the lifespan of hot Jupiter-class exoplanets.
Cheops looks at nearby stars for the exoplanets around them. Satellites can measure changes in luminance as the planet orbits its host star with exceptionally high accuracy. This method of indirectly sensing the planet helps researchers learn more even if they cannot observe the planet. “Since the WASP-189b is so bright, we can easily detect that the brightness of the star system decreases when the planet is out of sight. We use Cheops to measure the luminosity of the planet and determine its inlet temperature. approximately 3,200 degrees C “.
At this heat level, the metal evaporates, so humans cannot live on WASP-189b. During the WASP-189b transition, the team was able to calculate that it had a radius 1.6 times that of Jupiter. Observations of this star system also reveal that the star, HD 133112, is one of the largest to have a planet in orbit. WASP-189b is tidal locked in front of the star, meaning one side is always facing the star while the other side is always facing the opposite direction.
Cheops is the first ESA mission to study the characteristics of known exoplanets. This mission is the result of cooperation between ESA and Switzerland. Over the next few years, Cheops will discover more exoplanets and help scientists study their atmospheres.