Hungry Red Giant

Hungry Red Giant
October 16, 2012
CreditPenn State
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An aging star polluted with lithium. A massive planet with a highly elliptical orbit. To an international team of astronomers, these add up to the first clear evidence of a planet's destruction by its star - and maybe a glimpse of Earth's far-off fate.

The team, including Alexander Wolszczan, Evan Pugh Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics at Penn State, was using the Hobby-Eberly Telescope in Fort David, Texas, to study the star named BD+48 740, which is older than the Sun with a radius about 11 times bigger.