NASA's scientists have for the first time, seen a solar system being "destroyed" and have predicted what the final days of our own planetary system could look like.
The space agency's Kepler 2 Mission spotted the remains of a planet swirling around a dead star or white dwarf, which is in the Virgo constellation 570 light years away from Earth.
"We’re watching a solar system get destroyed.”
Experts explained that the wider implications of this science could give us a window into what the final days of planet Earth will look like.
Astronomers were able to arrive at this conclusion by observing how light from a sun-like star dipped every 4.5 hours.
According to a Nature article, the Kepler 2 team noted that the light dipped by 40 percent every time, a sign that materials were moving across the star's face.
During its final moments, the dying star unleashes enough force to rip planets apart.
The sun and other stars are powered by nuclear fusion reactions that run on hydrogen.
When it runs out of hydrogen, the star swells into a larger object and then collapses into a much smaller object, known as a white dwarf, that has enough gravitational force to rip apart nearby objects.
Writing in an accompanying Nature article, Francesca Faedi, an astronomer at the University of Warwick, said the findings were "extremely exciting."
“Although Earth’s final days are a long way into the future, this research has allowed us a glimpse of the probably inescapable outcome,” she added.