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Today from Astronomy Magazine:

“An international team of astronomers has discovered the first evidence of a planet’s destruction by its aging star. The evidence indicates that the missing planet was devoured as the star began expanding into a ‘red giant’—the stellar equivalent of advanced age.”

“Catching a planet in the act of being devoured by a star is an almost improbable feat to accomplish because of the comparative swiftness of the process, but the occurrence of such a collision can be deduced from the way it affects the stellar chemistry,” [one researcher] explained. “The highly elongated orbit of the massive planet we discovered around this lithium-polluted red giant star is exactly the kind of evidence that would point to the star’s recent destruction of its now-missing planet.”

The same thing could happen to the inner planets of our solar system and our sun becomes a red giant and expands out to Earth’s orbit. But don’t sweat, that won’t happen for another 5 billion years.

(Source: Astronomy)

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