Keep your nights open from January 30 – February 1st because we are going to see The Animation Show at The Ridge. Brought to us by Don Hertzfeldt and Mike Judge. Oh my, yes.
Among the hundred of known extrasolar planets, about 15% are closer than 0.1 astronomical units (AU) [the distance from Earth to the sun] from their parent stars. But there are extremely few detections of planets orbiting in less than 3 days. At this limit the planet HD209458b has been found to have an extended upper atmosphere of escaping hydrogen. This suggests that the so-called hot Jupiters which are close to their parent stars could evaporate. Astronomers estimate the evaporation rate of hydrogen from extrasolar planets in the star vicinity. With high exospheric temperatures, and owing to the tidal forces, planets evaporate through a geometrical blow-off. This may explain the absence of Jupiter mass planets below a critical distance from the stars. Below this critical distance, they infer the existence of a new class of planets made of the residual central core of former hot Jupiters, which they propose to call the “Chthonian” planets. Awesome. [Thanks to Wayne for the info]