A star has been eating an orbiting planet for 85 years

The smudge at the bottom of this simulated image is the remnant of a planet being eaten by its star

Sergei Nayakshin/Vardan Elbakyan, University of Leicester

A planet about six times the mass of Jupiter has been in the process of being ripped apart, incinerated and devoured by its star for decades. This “extreme evaporation” process has been predicted to occur and may be common in young stars, but this is the first instance of astronomers being able to observe the phenomenon.

A star called FU Orionis, which is about 1200 light years away, suddenly got hundreds …

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