Disintegrating Super Mercury-size Planet
Disintegrating Super Mercury-size Planet

05.18.12 - The artist's concept depicts a comet-like tail of a possible disintegrating super Mercury-size planet candidate as it transits its parent star named KIC 12557548. At an orbital distance of only twice the diameter of its star, the surface temperature of the potential planet is estimated to be a sweltering 3,300 degrees Fahrenheit. At such a high temperature, the surface would melt and evaporate. The energy from the resulting wind would be enough to allow dust and gas to escape into space creating a trailing dusty effluence that intermittently blocks the starlight.

Read more about the discovery here: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/ames/news/features/2012/Kepler_Detects_Potential_Evaporating_Planet_feature.html.

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Page Last Updated: March 6th, 2014
Page Editor: NASA Administrator