Astronomers have glimpsed the first evidence of a dying star devouring one of its planets, a fate that may await the inner planets -- including Earth -- in our own solar system. The star in the new study swallowed its planet as it mushroomed into a red giant.
Two more little Earth-sized planets have been discovered orbiting a distant star, astronomers said Wednesday, and their bizarre baked death may foreshadow the destiny of our own solar system. The publication comes a day after the announcement of the first Earth-sized planets ever confirmed outside our solar system. Already firmly in the exoplanet age, we're apparently entering an era of exo-Earths, full of small worlds with a past and a future very much like our own.
By Gregory MonePosted 09.14.2007 at 10:24 am 4 Comments
Aubrey de Grey and, for that matter, anyone else who plans to live forever, is probably feeling very relieved today. Astronomers announced that they have observed a planet that survived the fiery ballooning of its local star. This outcome is inevitable: Eventually, even our Sun is going to run out of hydrogen and blow up to 100 times its present size, transforming into what's known as a red giant. As a result, scientists figured that Earth has only about 5 billion years left.
Now, though, it appears that our lovely little planet could survive the Sun's transformation. That said, it probably wouldn't be a very nice place to live. Any of our kind who are still around at that point will probably have moved to another locale.—Gregory Mone