STRAIGHT OUT OF SCIENCE FICTION: How a ‘Death Star’ Will Destroy Earth in the End of Days
Astronomers keep watching a distant star in the process of destroying several exoplanets orbiting it. Many fear that our Sun may someday become the like of the white dwarf called WD 1145+017 and will likewise rip apart our Solar system.
The findings are the first observation of a solar system being torn apart by a dead star, according to a team reporting today in the journal Nature.“This is something no human has seen before,” said Andrew Vanderburg of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
“We’re watching a solar system get destroyed,” he said in a statement.
Dr. Vanderburg and his team had used NASA’s exoplanet-hunting Kepler spacecraft to make the discovery.
In October 2015 astronomers announced that they had discovered a rocky object coming apart in a death spiral around this distant star.
It was the first planetary-sized object detected orbiting the white dwarf.
They had noticed a regular dip in the brightness of the WD 1145+017, which is about 570 light years away in the constellation Virgo, every four-and-a-half hours, suggesting an object was orbiting the star at a distance
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