Real-Life Death Star May Give Scientists Clues To The History Of Planetary Systems

First Posted: Dec 19, 2016 04:22 AM EST

A so-called "solar twin" was discovered to possibly give scientists clues on the history of planetary systems.

A study published by University of Chicago involving a team of international scientists revealed that a star similar to the Earth's Sun located 3,000 lightyears away may have swallowed the planets that orbited around it. This discovery prompted scientists to conduct further study on the origin of planetary systems, NDTV reported.

While people believe that the "Death Star" only exists in the movie, Star Wars, astronomers have discovered its real-life version in the case of a star named HIP68468. Based on its lithium and refractory elements, the team found out that the twin star to the Sun may have eaten the planets nearby.

"It does not mean that the sun will 'eat' the Earth any time soon," said study's co-author Jacob Bean in a university statement. "But our discovery provides an indication that violent histories may be common for planetary systems, including our own."

However, co-author Megan Bedell warned that it is difficult to come up with conclusions based on a single planetary system. The team's lead planet finder added that the team plans "to study more stars like this to see whether this is a common outcome of the planet formation process."

More than 2,000 planets have been discovered outside the solar system since 1995. These astronomical bodies are called exoplanets -- derived from the Greek word "exo" that means "outer" or "external."

Just last June, NASA discovered a planet named Kepler-1647b, which orbits around two solar twins. Meanwhile, another planet named HD 131399Ab was discovered in July orbiting three giant stars. Scientists even found a more stunning discovery in September, when they discovered three giant exoplanets orbiting twin stars, CNN reported.

The increasing discovery of exoplanets has given scientists more opportunities to study if at least one of these may be habitable for humans.

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