TECH
09/15/2011 01:53 pm ET Updated Nov 15, 2011

CoRoT-2a 'Death Star' Blasting Planet With X-Rays (PICTURE)

That's no moon. It's not a space station, either.

NASA has discovered a planet 880 light years from earth that is being blasted by a "death" star, reports National Geographic.

The star, known as CoRoT-2a, is pounding the planet with x-rays at a rate of a hundred thousand times more than the earth receives from the sun, reports Discovery News.

Aged somewhere between 100 million to 300 million years old, the star appears to be too close to the planet, known as CoRoT-2b, which might be the cause of the x-ray attack, reports IB Times.

NASA further explains on the Chandra X-ray Observatory website:

This star is pummeling its companion planet -- not visible in this image -- with a barrage of X-rays a hundred thousand times more intense than the Earth receives from the Sun. Data from Chandra suggest that high-energy radiation from CoRoT-2a is evaporating about 5 million tons of matter from the nearby planet every second, giving insight into the difficult survival path for some planets.

X-ray radiation is a behavior usually seen in much younger stars. According to the press release, the planet's proximity may be causing the star to rotate faster, therefore increasing the amount of radiation released by the star.

The findings were published in the Journal of Astronomy and Astrophysics, which highlights new data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and the European Southern Observatory.

Keeping our planet out of harms way might mean earth has its lucky stars to thank, literally.

CoRoT-2a as seen by the Chandra Observatory: