A star is bombarding a huge nearby planet with X-rays 100,000 times stronger than what Earth receives from the Sun, a new study found.
The high-energy radiation is blasting about five million tons of material from the plant into space every second, researchers said, raising doubts about the planet's survival. The planet, called CoRoT-2b, has a mass about three times that of Jupiter.
The scientists collected the data using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope.
The star, known as CoRoT-2a, is located about 880 light-years from Earth. Optical and X-ray data suggest the star is between 100 million and 300 million years old, meaning it's fully formed, researchers said.
This planet is being absolutely fried by its star, said study lead author Sebastian Schroeter, of the University of Hamburg in Germany, in a statement.
The study was published in the August issue of the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics.
Researchers said CoRoT-2b appears to be unusually inflated for a planet in its position, which could be a result of the X-ray barrage, though they aren't certain.
CoRoT-2b was discovered in 2008 by the French Space Agency's Convection, Rotation and Planetary Transits satellite. The star is orbiting close to its parent star, which is only three percent of the Earth-Sun distance.
Because this planet is so close to the star, it may be speeding up the star's rotation and that could be keeping its magnetic fields active, said the study's co-author Stefan Czesla, also from the University of Hamburg. If it wasn't for the planet, this star might have left behind the volatility of its youth millions of years ago.