Astronomers have found a star that may have devoured its own planets, according to findings in a recent scientific journal.
Named Kronos (after the Greek god who ate his sons), the star is part of a binary set which shares a central point of orbit. Although, these two stars are believed to have formed together, and are currently traveling through space as a pair, astronomers have discovered the composition of Kronos and its brother Krios are drastically different in makeup.
Kronos, which is about 320 light-years from Earth, possess higher elements of lithium, iron and magnesium. Whereas Krios lacks the abundance of those heavy elements. There is approximately a 60 percent difference between the two stars.
“I absolutely thought I was doing something wrong,” lead author of the study, Semyeong Oh said. “When I found out they had such different abundancies … I thought it couldn’t possibly be explained.”
One explanation for the unusual composition of Kronos is the star may have consumed a rocky planet or two throughout its life time.
This isn’t the first burning ball of hydrogen to be accused of eating its own planets. HIP 68468, a star which has similar qualities to our own sun, has all the tell-tale signs of being a planet eater. Coined the “Death Star” by astronomers, the composition was found to have four times more lithium than is expected from a star of its age. Researchers suggest that a planet largest than Earth may have fallen too close to this Death Star, being sucked in by its gravity.
Scientist believe that many planets in our own Solar System will eventually suffer the same fate. The sun is projected to expand to swallow Mercury in about a billion years or so.
Don’t worry, we will all be dead by then. Does that make you feel better?