Exoplanet Has Is Own Shock Wave Shield To Save Its Atmosphere.

WASP-12b likes it hot. Or at least it better. Located just two million miles away from its star, the motherfucking temperature on its surface is 4000 degrees Fahrenheit. ¬†WASP-12b ain’t fretting though. It’s got its own blast shield to save its atmosphere.

Galactic science, get!

io9:

Researchers at the Open University discovered that WASP-12b appeared to have a giant cloud of material in front of it, as though its parent star was stripping away part of its atmosphere. The planet, which is about twice Jupiter’s size, seems to be far too close to its star to survive, so how is it more or less holding together?

The answer, according to the researchers, is that the planet’s magnetosphere throws up a giant magnetic shield to protect it from its star. Here’s how it works:

Scientists using computer simulations to explain observations of the ultrahot alien planet WASP-12b located around a star 867 light-years from Earth say the exoplanet could be pushing a shock wave – called a bow shock – ahead of it as it plows through a supersonic headwind while orbiting its star. The effect is similar to the shock wave ahead of a supersonic aircraft.

WASP-12b orbits a yellow dwarf star that spews out charged particles much like the sun’s solar wind. As WASP-12b orbits the star, the exoplanet compresses the material in front of it, creating the bow shock. This shock wave could then protect WASP-12b from the rain of charged particles that would otherwise erode its atmosphere.

Fuck! Never doubt the power of cosmic construction! Or something. I don’t know, I’m not making sense. All I know is that a fucking exoplanet has its own shock wave to save its atmosphere. That’s gnarly.