Skip to content

51 Pegasi b Fellow Leads Study on Planet Found Spiraling to its Doom

Illustration depicts exoplanet Kepler-1658b (left), doomed to eventual obliteration by its aging host star. Photo Credit: Center for Astrophysics/Harvard & Smithsonian

Shreyas Vissapragada, a 51 Pegasi b Fellow and planetary astrophysicist at the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian, is the lead author of a new study on exoplanet Kepler-1658b, which is spiraling towards its host star and will eventually be obliterated.

For the first time, astronomers have spotted an exoplanet whose orbit is decaying around an evolved, or older, host star. The stricken world appears destined to spiral closer and closer to its maturing star until collision and ultimate obliteration.

In an interview by CNN earlier this week, Shreyas explains the latest findings: “we’ve previously detected evidence for exoplanets inspiraling toward their stars, but we have never before seen such a planet around an evolved star. Theory predicts that evolved stars are very effective at sapping energy from their planets’ orbits, and now we can test those theories with observations.”

You can find the scientific study here and official news release here, and read Shreyas’ CNN interview here.