An alien planet is so close to its planetary star that its atmosphere is being swept off and forming a glowing comet tail. Its surface boasts a higher temperature than Mercury's 430 degrees Celsius.
HD 209458b was discovered in November 1999 and is an extrasolar planet, which is unofficially referred to as Osiris. This gas giant is approximately 150 light-years from Earth’s solar system. The alien planet has a surface temperature of about 1,000 degrees Celsius (1,800 degrees Fahrenheit) and takes only 3.5 days to orbit its star: HD 209458.
According to NASA astronomers, the planet is orbiting extremely close to its star that its atmosphere is being ripped to shreds and is escaping into space, which has caused the planet to form a comet tail and could be identified as a “cometary planet.”
In a NASA press release, scientists say it found the planet by using its Hubble Space Telescope and Hubble's Cosmic Origins Spectrograph (COS) and have concluded that stellar winds are brushing off atmospheric material on the scorched planet and shaping it into a comet tail.
“Since 2003 scientists have theorized the lost mass is being pushed back into a tail, and they have even calculated what it looks like. We think we have the best observational evidence to support that theory,” said lead author of the COS study, astronomer Jeffrey Linsky. “We have measured gas coming off the planet at specific speeds, some coming toward Earth. The most likely interpretation is that we have measured the velocity of material in a tail.”
Linsky added that even though the planet is boiling, it won’t disappear anytime soon because it would take about one trillion years to evaporate.
Click here to view an artist’s rendition of what the planet looks like.