Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Star is caught devouring planet
Astronomers have found evidence for a planet being devoured by its star, yielding insights into the fate that will befall Earth in billions of years.
The team uncovered the signature of a planet that had been "eaten" by looking at the chemistry of the host star.
They also think a surviving planet around this star may have been kicked into its unusual orbit by the destruction of a neighbouring world.
"A similar fate may await the inner planets in our solar system, when the Sun becomes a red giant and expands all the way out to Earth's orbit some five billion years from now," said co-author Prof Alexander Wolszczan from Pennsylvania State University in the US.