Three recently discovered exoplanets will be swallowed up by their host stars in a relatively short amount of time. The three planets, which are named TOI-2337b, TOI-4329b, and TOI-2669b, were detected by NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) as well as the W. M. Keck Observatory's High-Resolution Echelle Spectrometer (HIRES) in Hawaiʻi.
According to a statement provided by the W. M. Keck Observatory, all three of the newfound planets are gas giants with masses that range between 0.5 and 1.7 times greater than Jupiter. They are also quite different from one another in regards to their size and how dense they are.
Additionally, these three worlds orbit at an exceptionally close range to their host stars, which is why they are on the verge of being destroyed. In fact, TOI-2337b orbits so close to its parent star that it will be destroyed in less than one million years. While that may seem like a long time, it is in fact the soonest time frame of any known exoplanet’s eventual destruction by its host star.
Samuel Grunblatt, who is a postdoctoral fellow at the American Museum of Natural History, noted, “These planets are in such extreme places that actually less than 10 years ago, no one thought that they actually existed.” “These discoveries are crucial to understanding a new frontier in exoplanet studies: how planetary systems evolve over time.” “These observations offer new windows into planets nearing the end of their lives, before their host stars swallow them up.”
Interestingly, when a star is in its last 10% of its life, it can pull in planets, which causes them to go through extreme changes such as them swelling up (this could explain why the densities are so different among the three newly discovered planets).
Grunblatt went on to say, “The rapid changes of the star combined with the short orbital periods of these planets imply these planets should be consumed by their host stars faster than almost any other known planets,” adding, “Continuing the study of these systems could tell us how giant planets move throughout their lives, how that affects their smaller neighbors and then puffs them up during a fiery death dive into their host stars.” (Their study can be read here.)
Nick Saunders, who is a graduate student at the University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy, weighed in by stating that they “...expect to find tens to hundreds of these evolved transiting planet systems with TESS.” That is certainly very possible as a recent report revealed that TESS has passed a very important milestone regarding planetary candidates by discovering more than 5,000 TOIs (TESS Objects of Interest).
In total, there are currently 4,903 planets that have been confirmed, 8,414 planetary candidates that are awaiting confirmation, and 3,677 confirmed planetary systems.