Scientists Discover Star Devouring Nearby Planet

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Aug. 22 2012 4:25 PM

Scientists Discover Star Devouring Nearby Planet

What's part of a balanced diet for a growing star? A planet.

A team of astronomers have discovered—using the Hobby-Eberly Telescope in the Davis Mountains—evidence of the sun-like star BD+48740 devouring one of its own planets

The star is a red giant, starting out with a mass close to our sun and rapidly growing as hydrogen becomes less efficient in its core and is transferred to its outer shell. 

This has caused the star to burn much brighter and grow 11 times the size of the sun, engulfing planets as it expands. The astronomers have also found large amounts of lithium in the star which they believe was formed when engulfing a planet.

But don't worry Earthlings, our nurturing sun will only start destroying life on Earth and turning it molten in about a billion years.

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Scientists have discovered evidence for the first time ever of a nearby star sucking in a planet; a handout digital illustration from NASA showing the gaseous planet Kepler-16b orbiting it's two stars.

Photo by NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Hurt via Getty Images

Video by Krishnan Vasuvedan.

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