Doomed Planet Foreshadows Earth's Fate

December 13, 2013

A group of astronomers that includes Amelia Bayo and Luigi Mancini of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy has found a doomed planet that within 55 million years – a mere blink of the eye on astronomical scales – will be swallowed whole by its host star.

Artist's impression of the planet Kepler-91b which will be swallowed by its host star shortly (astronomically speaking).

This is a fate similar to that facing the earth in roughly 5 billion years. The planet, known as Kepler 91b, is currently orbiting its host star a mere 3 times the radius of the sun. The star, a red giant with a radius currently 6 times that of our sun, will swell to engulf the unhappy satellite.

The team leader is Jorge Lillo of the Center of Astrobiology (CAB) in Madrid. The initial discovery was made with NASA's Kepler Space Telescope based on observations taken in 2009–2012, but the object was only unambiguously identified as a planet when Lillo and his colleagues followed up on the initial observations, using the 2.2m telescope at Calar Alto Observatory in Andalusia. precarious.

Original article (accepted for publication in Astronomy & Astrophysics)


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