Star Blasts Planet With X-rays
This graphic contains an image and illustration of a nearby star, named CoRoT-2a, which has a planet in close orbit around it. The separation between the star and planet is only about 3 percent of the distance between the Earth and the Sun, causing some exotic effects not seen in our solar system.
The planet-hosting star is located in the center of the image. Data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory are shown in purple, along with optical and infrared data from the Panchromatic Robotic Optical Monitoring and Polarimetry Telescopes (PROMPT) and the Two Micron All Sky Survey (2MASS). CoRoT-2a is surrounded by a purple glow showing that it is an X-ray source.
This star is pummeling its companion planet -- not visible in this image -- with a barrage of X-rays a hundred thousand times more intense than the Earth receives from the Sun. Data from Chandra suggest that high-energy radiation from CoRoT-2a is evaporating about 5 million tons of matter from the nearby planet every second, giving insight into the difficult survival path for some planets. The artist's representation shows the material, in blue, being stripped off the planet.
-Megan Watzke, CXC
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