NASA's Kepler Space Telescope has found a planet being destroyed by the heat of its own parent star.
The 1500-light-year distant object has a long tail of debris like a comet and is believed to be on a path to destruction, with scientists estimating that it has perhaps 200 million years left. The planet's close proximity to the star is likely to be the main contributing factor in its eventual demise, orbiting at just twice the star's diameter and making it one of the shortest orbits of a planet even detected.
The bizarre nature of the light output from this star with its precisely periodic transit-like features and highly variable depths exemplifies how Kepler is expanding the frontiers of science in unexpected ways," said Jon Jenkins of SETI.
"Astronomers from Nasa and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have detected a possible planet disintegrating under the searing heat of its host star, which is located 1,500 light-years from earth."
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