Exoplanets bathed in deadly radiation

Exoplanets bathed in deadly radiation
Date:1 November 2009

The exoplanets PSR B1257+12 b, c and d were among the first discovered, and also happen to be three of the weirdest. The entire system is a graveyard, remnants of what used to be a normal, functional solar system before the star blew apart in a giant explosion known as a supernova.

The massive shockwave from the supernova stripped away any atmosphere or living creatures that might have once lived on these planets, leaving behind ghostly, rocky shells, dead planets orbiting the corpse of an extinct star.

Except that PSR B1257+12 isn’t all dead – the remaining core from the old star has become a zombie star called a pulsar. Literally spinning in its grave, PSR B1257+12 makes a full rotation every 6,22 milliseconds and emits an intense beam of radiation that can be detected from Earth. The star’s unfortunate planets are thus bathed in deadly radiation on a regular basis, making sure that this system remains a cosmic no-man’s land.

Related material:
* News story – Exoplanet house of horrors

Latest Issue :

May-June 2022