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Top Story

Astronomers discover dark past of planet-eating ‘Death Star’

An international team of scientists, including National Science Foundation-funded researchers from the University of Chicago, has made the rare discovery of a planetary system with a host star similar to Earth’s sun. Especially intriguing is the star’s unusual composition, which indicates it ingested some of its planets. Unlike the artificial planet-destroying Death Star in the movie “Star Wars,” this natural version could provide clues about how planetary systems evolve over time. Astronomers discovered the first planet orbiting a star other than the sun in 1995. Since then, more than two thousand exoplanets have been identified. Rare among them are planets that orbit a star similar to Earth’s sun. Due to their extreme similarity to the sun, these so-called solar twins are ideal targets for investigating the connections between stars and their planets.

Visit Website | Image credit: Illustration byGabi Perez / Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias