Through NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, a team of scientists was able to observe an odd-shaped planet leaking heavy metals into space. According to the scientists, the leak, as well as the planet’s shape, are caused by its extremely close distance to its host star.

The planet that was recently observed by the scientists using Hubble is called WASP-121b. It is located about 900 light-years from Earth and has been classified as a Jupiter planet due to its close orbit around its host star. In fact, WASP-121b sits so close to the star that the temperature in its atmosphere is around 4,600 degrees Fahrenheit.

Aside from its extremely hot environment, the scientists also discovered that the alien planet was leaking heavy metals such as magnesium and iron into space.

“Heavy metals have been seen in other hot Jupiters before, but only in the lower atmosphere,” lead scientist David Sing of the John Hopkins University said in a statement. “So you don’t know if they are escaping or not. With WASP-121b, we see magnesium and iron gas so far away from the planet that they’re not gravitationally bound.”

According to Sing, the planet’s closeness to its host star causes its upper atmosphere to heat up, causing the heavy metals to leak out.

Aside from the increase in temperature and the leak in the atmosphere, the host star has another effect on the planet that’s more apparent. Due to the star’s strong gravitational forces, the planet’s overall shape has been distorted.

Instead of having a spherical form like other planets, WASP-121b is beginning to display an oval or football-like shape due to the pull of the star. Due to the various extreme conditions currently happening within the planet, scientists believe it will eventually get ripped apart by the host star.

Despite the possible grim fate of WASP-121b, the scientists consider it as a goldmine for new information.

“It’s so hot and so favorable to observe, it’s the best shot at finding the presence of heavy metals,” Sing said about the planet. “We were mainly looking for magnesium, but there have been hints of iron in the atmosphere of other exoplanets.”

“It was a surprise, though, to see it clearly in the data and at such great altitudes so far away from the planet,” he added.

The findings of the study carried out by Sing and his team were presented in a report published in The Astronomical Journal.

This artist's illustration shows an alien world that is losing magnesium and iron gas from its atmosphere. The observations represent the first time that so-called "heavy metals"—elements more massive than hydrogen and helium—have been detected escaping from a hot Jupiter, a large gaseous exoplanet orbiting very close to its star.The planet, known as WASP-121b, orbits a star brighter and hotter than the Sun. The planet is so dangerously close to its star that its upper atmosphere reaches a blazing 4,600 degrees Fahrenheit, about 10 times greater than any known planetary atmosphere. A torrent of ultraviolet light from the host star is heating the planet's upper atmosphere, which is causing the magnesium and iron gas to escape into space. Observations by Hubble's Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph have detected the spectral signatures of magnesium and iron far away from the planet.The planet's "hugging" distance from the star means that it is on the verge of being ripped apart by the star's gravitational tidal forces. The powerful gravitational forces have altered the planet's shape so that it appears more football shaped.The WASP-121 system is about 900 light-years from Earth. NASA/ESA/J. Olmsted (STScI)