23 March 2002
Using the Hubble Space Telescope, for the first time, astronomers have observed the atmosphere of an extrasolar planet evaporating off into space. Much of this planet may eventually disappear, leaving only a dense core. The planet is a type of extrasolar planet known as a 'hot Jupiter'. These giant, gaseous planets orbit their stars very closely, drawn to them like moths to a flame.
This programme tells of the astronomers findings and includes graphic animations of the Hubble Space Telescope. The programme comprises of an A-Roll with English commentary and is complimented by a B-Roll with clean international sound.
European astronomers observe first evaporating planet
[Earth animations, 0:00-0:15]
The Earth - the planet on which we live.
It orbits around our star, the Sun, at a safe distance of 150 million kilometres. But not all planets are so fortunate...
[Dramatic close-up, extrasolar planet orbiting star, 0:15-0:45]
In the latest issue of the magazine NATURE astronomers report the first observation of an evaporating extrasolar planet, its atmosphere boiling off into space. Much of the planet may eventually disappear, leaving only a dense core. This observation sheds new light on the fate of gas giant planets that spiral in close to their parent stars, drawn to them like moths to a flame.
[Hubble Space Telescope animations, 0:45-1:07]
A team of astronomers used the Earth-orbiting NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope to observe the planet as it crossed the face of its parent star. The observations were made in ultraviolet light. Hubble's position above the atmosphere makes it the only telescope that