Illustration for article titled Galactus-like star is swallowing nearby planets

The Hubble Space Telescope has spotted evidence of this cosmic buffet taking place 600 light years away in the constellation Auriga, where the WASP-12 yellow dwarf star is eating one of its planets.


Even though this image is an artist's rendering of what's happening to the planet known as WASP-12b, it's pretty accurate. According to a release from Hubblesite:

The hottest known planet in the Milky Way galaxy may also be its shortest-lived world. The doomed planet is being eaten by its parent star, according to observations made by a new instrument on NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph (COS). The planet may only have another 10 million years left before it is completely devoured.

The planet, called WASP-12b, is so close to its sunlike star that it is superheated to nearly 2,800 degrees Fahrenheit and stretched into a football shape by enormous tidal forces. The atmosphere has ballooned to nearly three times Jupiter's radius and is spilling material onto the star. The planet is 40 percent more massive than Jupiter.


(Via Twitter)

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