A planet about 880 light-years away from Earth may be about the meet the same fate as Princess Lea's homeland of Alderaan -- it may actually be blasted away by an incredibly powerful death star.
New data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope suggest the star may be pounding a companion blanet with a barrage of X-rays that are a hundred thousand times more intense than the Earth receives from the sun.
This planet is being absolutely fried by its star, Sebastian Schroeter, a researcher at the University of Hamburg in Germany and co-author of the study, said in a statement.
The intense, high energy radiation is blasting about five million tons of matter from the planet into space every second, according to the study, which was published in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics.
The planet, known as CoRoT-2b, has a mass that is 1000 times greater than Earth and orbits the star in question - known as CoRoT-2a - at a distance about time times that size of that between Earth and its moon. According to the Chandra observations, the star is fully formed and extremely active, with a bright X-ray emission that is produced by turbulent magnetic fields.
Stefan Czesla, another co-author from the University of Hamburg, said the planet's proximity to the star may be speeding up the star's rotation, keeping its magnetic fields active. The star, which is between 100 million and 300 million years old, would likely be less volatile if not for nearness of CoRoT-2b.