There are countless planets in the universe, and the earth is also a planet. Planets also have lifespan, but how planets disintegrate and die has always been a mystery. But recently, astronomers have been lucky to observe the whole process of a planet’s disintegration and death.
Wasp-12b is a huge planet outside the solar system. Its huge size has attracted the attention of scientists, who are trying to understand what happened to it? The abnormal expansion of body shape is a sign that a planet will face death. “This is the first time that astronomers have witnessed the disintegration and death of a planet,” said Professor Lin Chao of the University of California, Santa Cruz Keweili Institute of astronomy and Astrophysics is a newly established Research Institute of Peking University, which has undertaken the main work in this research.
The first author of the study, Li Shuli, was still a graduate student at the Institute of astronomy and Astrophysics at keweili. She and a research team analyzed the observation data of the planet to prove how the gravity of its host star made the planet “puffy” and accelerated its rapid disintegration process.
These researchers believe that there must be some mechanism for the planet to expand to such an unexpected extent. They focused their analysis on the tidal forces and concluded that the tidal forces on wasp-12b were strong enough to produce the observed effects.
These tidal forces will not only distort the shape of the planet. By constantly changing the shape of the planet, tidal forces can also cause friction inside the planet. This friction generates heat, which causes the planet to expand. Professor Lin Chao said: “this is the first time that direct evidence has been obtained that the planet’s internal heating (or ‘tidal heating’) can make the planet expand to its current size.”
If the planet expands too fast, it will accelerate the death. In fact, it is the same as those obese people of human beings. Some obese people suffer from obesity and can’t control their weight and body shape. However, their body size keeps growing and their whole body is “swollen”. If they are not treated in time, they will be in danger of life.
The same is true for planets. Normally, the expansion of planets is very slow. It may take tens of billions of years for a planet to die. But if the planet due to external or internal reasons, the external force may be like wasp-12b, too close to its main star, under the strong gravity of the main star, constantly lose their own material, it will accelerate the expansion, the body will become bigger and bigger, just like a balloon, once the expansion reaches the limit, death will come. The internal reason is that the temperature inside the ball increases greatly, which also accelerates the expansion.
The earth also has to face the process of planetary death, so the earth is slowly expanding, and its volume will continue to grow in the future. Of course, this process is slow, and it may take tens of billions of years. The environment of the earth is good. There are no large celestial bodies around, so we don’t have to be influenced by the strong gravity of each other. At the same time, the earth’s interior is also very mild. Although the temperature of the earth’s surface reaches a record high every year, the interior temperature remains basically stable.