TECH

This Planet-Eating Star Is A Horrifying Glimpse Into Our Own Fiery Fate

Our sun could do the same.

19/12/2016 15:09 GMT

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.

Günay Mutlu via Getty Images

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.”

Gabi Perez / Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias

 

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.