Astronomers Find Star That Will Gobble Up Its Planets

TAMPA (CBS Tampa) –  In what could be a preview of the Earth’s fate, astronomers are watching a star gobble up two of its orbiting planets, reports

The star is Kepler-56, and it’s about 2,800 light years away from us, and it’s very similar to our sun.

Astronomers say it’s burning through it’s nuclear fuel, which causes it to swell before it collapses back into a red dwarf star.

But it is a slow motion process. Scientists estimate the closest planet, called Kepler-56b, will be swallowed up about 130 million years from now. It’s sister planet, Kepler-56c, will meet its doom 25 million years later.

“This is very exciting because this is the first time that we have observed an exoplanetary system with two of its planets sentenced to death,” said Gongjie Li, with the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

Both planets are gas giants which complete their orbits within weeks, rather than years, and are closer to their star than Mercury is to the sun. A third planet orbits far enough away that it will survive Kepler-56’s death throes.

Astronomers predict the sun will grow into a red giant 5 billion years from now.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


More From CBS Tampa

Hating Valentine’s Day? Goodwill Says Donate Your Ex’s StuffGoodwill stores in the Sarasota and Las Vegas areas have an anti-Valentine’s Day antidote. They’re asking people to donate their ex’s stuff with a “don’t hate, donate” campaign.
The CW Considers 6 Pilots for ’16-’17 Season‘Tis the season for new shows! The CW has ordered six pilots that will be considered for the ’16-’17 season pickups.

Listen Live