Faraway star spotted devouring planet in landmark find

Astronomers may have for the first time witnessed a sun-like star devouring a planet, shedding light on the fate that will befall Earth in about four billion years when our dying sun swells to engulf our world, a new study finds.

By analyzing countless stars during various stages of their evolution, astronomers have discovered that as our sun and stars like it near the ends of their lives, they begin to exhaust their primary source of fuel, the hydrogen near their cores. This leads their cores to contract and their outer shells to expand and cool. During this “red giant” phase, these stars may billow out anywhere from 100 to 1,000 times their original diameter, swallowing closely orbiting planets.

Source link