Who needs a Death Star, when our entire planet could potentially be swallowed by our own Sun in the future anyway?
A team of scientists who have been monitoring a planetary system similar to our own over 300 light years away, have revealed that the central host star swallowed its neighbours after they got a little too close.
The system, which is similar because of its central host star – known as HIP68468 – has recently been confirmed to have a somewhat “violent history”.
The team know that the star is responsible for the disappearance of surrounding planets because it has far more lithium than expected for a star of its age and it contains heat-resistant metals, only found in rocky worlds.
Professor Debra Fischer said: “It is as if we saw a cat sitting next to a bird cage. If there are yellow feathers sticking out of the cat’s mouth, it’s a good bet that the cat swallowed a canary.”
The observation of lithium and metals lead scientists to conclude that the planet has consumed as many as six earths, a supersize Neptune, and another supersize Earth, but this is yet to be confirmed.
Assistant Professor Jacob Bean was quick to offer reassurance, saying: “This doesn’t mean the sun will ‘eat’ the earth any time soon.”
However it does certainly give us clues to the future we could be heading for: “These violent histories may be common for planetary systems, including our own.”
Let’s keep our fingers crossed.