…By Larry John for TDPel Media.
A team of astronomers from MIT, Harvard University, and Caltech has witnessed a planet being swallowed by its host star for the first time ever. As stars evolve, they expand and engulf nearby planets.
This is also Earth’s fate, but it is not expected to happen for another five billion years.
While scientists have observed hints of stars shortly before and after being engulfed, the process had not been witnessed until now.
The discovery was accidental, with the scientists observing an outburst from a star that became 100 times brighter over 10 days, before quickly fading away.
Details of the Discovery
The outburst was discovered in May 2020, around 12,000 light-years away from Earth, near the Aquila constellation.
The scientists deduced that the outburst was caused by a star engulfing a nearby planet.
Dr Kishalay De, a postdoc in MIT’s Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research and lead author of the study, said that the discovery was “really exciting” because it allowed them to observe a planet undergoing its fate in real-time.
He also hopes that the discovery will help astronomers find other planets being engulfed by their stars.
Implications of the Discovery
This discovery could have significant implications for our understanding of planets and their fate.
While scientists have observed many planets outside our solar system, the vast majority have been detected indirectly, through the effect of their gravity on the stars they orbit.
This means that we do not know much about these planets, including whether they will be swallowed by their host stars.
This discovery could help astronomers find other planets undergoing this fate in real-time, giving them a better understanding of how planets evolve and how common this phenomenon is.
Analysis and Commentaries
The discovery of a planet being engulfed by its host star for the first time ever is a significant achievement for astronomers.
It provides new insights into the evolution of stars and planets and could help us find other planets undergoing this fate in real-time.
This discovery also highlights the importance of accidental discoveries in science. Many of the greatest scientific breakthroughs have been made by accident, as scientists stumbled across phenomena they were not looking for.
This is why it is important to keep an open mind and remain curious, as you never know what you might discover.