tidal decay

All posts tagged tidal decay

Artist’s conception of a hot Jupiter shedding mass.

Though worlds in our Solar System have been rocked by geological upheavals, mountain-shattering impacts, and climatic disasters throughout their histories, we think they have remained essentially intact. The planets we see today have been here since they first coalesced 4.5 billion years ago. But that long-lived stability may be the exception and not the rule. Indeed, astronomers now know many planets face destruction through what’s called tidal disruption, and recent searches have revealed direct evidence of the final moments for these doomed worlds.

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