A distant, end-of-life star named ZTF SLRN-2020 has been caught devouring a planet in its Jupiter-sized planetary system, science that first hints at the fate awaiting Earth in about 5 billion years.
The star, which was similar in size to the Sun, became a red giant when it reached the twilight of its life, growing in size and engulfing surrounding planets in the process, California Institute of Technology (CALTECH) said in an article. posted on its website.
Because ZTF SLRN-2020 is located about 15,000 light-years from Earth, which is too far away for its planetary system to be directly observed. However, the researchers were able to observe a burst of brightness from the star as it swallowed up the planet, which may have been the size of Jupiter.
“Confirmation that sun-like stars overwhelm nearby planets provides us with a missing link in understanding the fate of solar systems, including our own,” said postdoctoral researcher Kishalay De, lead author of the study published in the journal Nature.
Observing the fate of the 2020 ZTF SLRN-ZTF provides a glimpse into what, quite literally, the end of the world on Earth will look like. Laparotti recalled to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Service on Tuesday that the sun should suffer the same fate in 5 billion years when it will have depleted its hydrogen reserves, and will swallow up the planets Mercury and Venus, and possibly Earth as well.