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Hubble telescope observes star devouring planet WASP-12b

Located some 600 light-years away, the planet WASP-12b is being swallowed up by its sun. Scientists say that the gas giant may only have another 10 million years left before it is completely devoured.

This artist's impression shows the gas giant WASP-12b being consumed by its white dwarf star, some 600 light-years away.


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The hottest known planet in our galaxy is being stretched into the shape of a football and rapidly consumed by its parent star, new observations from the Hubble Space Telescope show.

The extrasolar planet on the cosmic menu, called WASP-12b, may only have another 10 million years left before it is completely devoured, Hubble scientists announced Thursday.

WASP-12b is so close to its sun-like star that it is superheated to nearly 2,800 degrees Fahrenheit and stretched into an elongated shape by enormous tidal forces.

IN PICTURES: Where stars form

Because of those phenomenal forces, the planet's atmosphere has ballooned to nearly three times Jupiter's radius and is pouring material onto its parent star. WASP-12b is 40 percent more massive than Jupiter.


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