Kepler 2 shows how the Planets in our Solar System might End.

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Astronomers using NASA’s re-purposed Kepler space telescope, known as K2 mission, have found strong evidence of a planet that is being torn apart as it spirals around a dead star or white dwarf in the constellation of Virgo, 571 light years from Earth.

This discovery validates the theory that dead stars are capable of eating possible remnant planets that have survived it's giant expansion within its solar system.

A dead star or white dwarf forms when a relatively low mass star, such as the Sun runs out of fuel. Sun-like stars are driven by nuclear reactions that transform hydrogen into helium. But when the hydrogen runs out, they burn heavier elements, such as helium, carbon and oxygen, and expand dramatically. 

After first expanding into a red giant and absorbing a number of planets in it's solar system [depending on it's size] the dead star sheds its outer layers and leave a small and very dense core. Heavy elements are pulled towards the centre core due to its strong gravity.

Further analysis of light from the star shows evidence that elements on the white dwarf’s surface include calcium, iron and aluminium, suggesting that the remnant of planets are disintegrating. The researchers estimate that 8 million kilograms of matter are being vaporized every second by the dead star’s intense heat.

According to Andrew Vanderburg, an astronomer at the Harvard–Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and lead author of the study,''The observation of disintegrating remnants of planets or asteroids also gives a glimpse of our own future, the situation is something that’s likely to happen to our own Solar System. 

When the sun dies in five billion years, it will expand and absorb the inner planets, toasting Mercury and Venus, and potentially Earth too. But if Earth survives that cosmic trauma, it may find itself being shredded as it spirals into the white dwarf that the sun will become. 


source:- nature.com

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