Exoplanet Spirals Toward Aging Star

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Produced by the Space Telescope Science Institute’s Office of Public Outreach in collaboration with NASA’s Universe of Learning partners: Caltech/IPAC, Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian, and NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Video imagery:

·       Planet transit animation: ESA, Hubble
·       Exoplanet and star illustration: NASA/ESA/STSci/G. Bacon

Writer: Leah Ramsay
Designer: Leah Hustak, Joseph Olmsted
Science review: Dr. Quyen Hart
Education review: Jim Manning
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Photos of colorful nebulae, planets, galaxies, and stars flow by. Text, News From the Universe.
A brown planet orbits a large, orange yellow star with many dark spots and eruptions of vapor..
Text, January 6, 2023. Animation. Exoplanet Spirals Toward Aging Star. For the first time, astronomers have confirmed an exoplanet spiraling toward an aging host star.
The planet continues to orbit the star, getting closer to it.
Text, Kepler hyphen 1 6 5 8 b, a, quote, hot Jupiter, unquote, type exoplanet, will slowly orbit closer and closer to its star until it is destroyed.
Due to tidal forces, older stars sap energy from close-circling planets, causing a more rapid--and thus observable--inward spiral.
An illustration of the gas giant plant near the surface of the burning star.
Text, The discovery allows scientists to test orbital decay theories with real data for the first time.
NASA's TESS mission is finding more planets around aging stars, and scientists are hopeful this is just the start of better understanding of this type of planetary end.
This news was brought to you in part by the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, M.A.