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10 NASA images of planets like Earth

By: Katherine Butler on July 17, 2012, 7:08 p.m.
Kepler, space, planet

Photo: NASA/JPL-CalTech

5 of 11

Extreme planets

[skipwords]Ever wonder what happens to our solar system after the sun runs its course in 5 or so billion years? Here we see an artist’s conception of a pulsar planet system. A pulsar is a rapidly rotating neutron star that holds the collapsed core of a dead star. In 1992, astronomer Aleksander Wolszczan discovered this pulsar, which is named PSR B1257+12. Here we see at least two Earth-like sized planets rotating it. Radiation from the pulsar is likely “raining” down on the planets, causing magnificent auroras all through their atmospheres. These planets may be part of a second generation of planets that formed after the deadening blast of the dying star. [/skipwords]