Star blasts planet with X-rays

Sep 13, 2011
This graphic contains an image and illustration of a nearby star, named CoRoT-2a, and an orbiting planet known as CoRoT-2b. The image contains X-rays from Chandra (purple) of CoRoT-2a along with optical and infrared data of the field of view in which it is found. CoRoT-2b, which is not seen in this image, orbits extremely closely to the star. In fact, the separation between the star and planet is only about 3 percent of the distance between the Earth and the Sun. The Chandra data indicate that planet is being blasted by X-rays with such intensity that some 5 millions of tons of material are being eroded from the planet every second. Credit: Optical: NASA/NSF/IPAC-Caltech/UMass/2MASS, PROMPT; Wide field image: DSS; X-ray: NASA/CXC/Univ of Hamburg/S.Schröter et al; Illustration: CXC/M. Weiss

A nearby star is pummeling a companion planet with a barrage of X-rays a hundred thousand times more intense than the Earth receives from the Sun.

New data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope suggest that high-energy radiation is evaporating about 5 million tons of matter from the planet every second. This result gives insight into the difficult survival path for some .

The planet, known as CoRoT-2b, has a mass about 3 times that of Jupiter (1000 times that of Earth) and orbits its , CoRoT-2a at a distance roughly ten times the distance between Earth and the Moon.

The CoRoT-2 star and planet -- so named because the French Space Agency's Convection, Rotation and (CoRoT) satellite discovered them in 2008 -- is a relatively nearby neighbor of the Solar System at a distance of 880 light years.

"This planet is being absolutely fried by its star," said Sebastian Schroeter of the University of Hamburg in Germany. "What may be even stranger is that this planet may be affecting the behavior of the star that is blasting it."

According to optical and X-ray data, the CoRoT-2 system is estimated to be between about 100 million and 300 million years old, meaning that the star is fully formed. The Chandra observations show that CoRoT-2a is a very active star, with bright X-ray emission produced by powerful, turbulent magnetic fields. Such strong activity is usually found in much younger .

"Because this planet is so close to the star, it may be speeding up the star's rotation and that could be keeping its magnetic fields active," said co-author Stefan Czesla, also from the University of Hamburg. "If it wasn't for the planet, this star might have left behind the volatility of its youth millions of years ago."

Support for this idea come from observations of a likely that orbits CoRoT-2a at a distance about a thousand times greater than the separation between the Earth and our Sun. This star is not detected in X-rays, perhaps because it does not have a close-in planet like CoRoT-2b to cause it to stay active.

Another intriguing aspect of CoRoT-2b is that it appears to be unusually inflated for a planet in its position.

"We're not exactly sure of all the effects this type of heavy X-ray storm would have on a planet, but it could be responsible for the bloating we see in CoRoT-2b," said Schroeter. "We are just beginning to learn about what happens to exoplanets in these extreme environments."

Explore further: Magnetar discovered close to supernova remnant Kesteven 79

More information: These results were published in the August issue of Astronomy and Astrophysics.

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5 / 5 (5) Sep 13, 2011
Excuse me but how is that relevant to the article?
1 / 5 (7) Sep 13, 2011
Excuse me but how is that relevant to the article?

Thanks for the question.

Earth's climate is changing and has always changed
because Earth's heat source - the Sun - and life itself
are evolving and have continuously evolved.

"Origin and Evolution of Life Constraints on the
Solar Model," Journal of Modern Physics 2, 587-594 (2011).

4.2 / 5 (5) Sep 13, 2011
So, how is climate change related to the cessation of the Apollo program, or to a world peace treaty?
1 / 5 (7) Sep 13, 2011
So, how is climate change related to the cessation of the Apollo program, or to a world peace treaty?

Thanks for the question.

My interpretation of the "Roots of the Climategate scandal"


I deeply regret that it took so long to decipher years of puzzling events.

Some of the background information was not released for several years.
4 / 5 (4) Sep 13, 2011
See Omar, you lost any credibility with just about everyone with the "Climategate scandal"! There is no climategate scandal other than the crap the nuties of the far-right want to push as talking points.

Stick with your solar neutron ideas, and leave the climate to to the experts.
not rated yet Sep 14, 2011
Regarding the planet in the article, I have to wonder: at that rate of erosion, will it at some point get so light that it gets blown out of its orbit by the star?

I have figured out the "bloating" -- it's blistered! (JK, lol!)
not rated yet Sep 23, 2011
So, how is climate change related to the cessation of the Apollo program, or to a world peace treaty?

through the nothing that science cant see
2 / 5 (1) Sep 23, 2011
and you posed a stupid question actually, of course that everything in the universe is related, it goes like this, universe->everything, not every(something)thing->universe
5 / 5 (1) Sep 23, 2011
Of course everything is related, Velvet Pink -- but the relations between some things are tenuous, and difficult to give a rational-seeming explanation for.
The claim that, essentially, there is a strong connection between the disintegration of solar neutrons and the chances for a peace treaty is rather far-fetched, no?