What! Sun's evil doppelganger is eating away its planets

Say hello to Sun's evil twin

If you thought that doppelgangers can be vicious only in reel-life you might wanna reconsider your theory coz a new theory suggests that stars like the sun too have their evil twins and they are as diabolical as you can imagine them to be.

If you’re thinking that this is a pre-new year joke then read on.

An international team of scientists from the University of Chicago have discovered a planetary system, just like our own solar system, where the planets are being eaten away by the star that they are orbiting.

The star HIP68468 is a solar twin, which means that it’s temperature, age and composition, is similar to our sun, and is located 300 light years away. According to the observations made by the scientists, it ate away one of the planets that once orbited it.

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A team of astronomers at the University of São Paulo in Brazil were observing this star using the 3.6-metre telescope at the La Silla Observatory in Chile and detected two new planet candidates in orbit around it- a super Neptune and a super-Earth. While the super-Neptune is nearly 50 percent larger than Neptune, the super-Earth is three times larger than the blue planet and takes just three days to orbit its sun.

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The scientists found evidence of this cosmic crime by examining the lithium composition of the star. When the scientists examined the composition of the star HIP68468, they found out that it had four times the lithium level than the star of its age, which is nearly 6 billion years. They also found traces of heat-resistant metals that are found in abundance in the rocky planets. On probing further, they concluded that another planet used to orbit the star alongside the super-Neptune and super-Earth.

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Apparently, stars like HIP68468 and our sun consume lithium over the time. However, planets preserve lithium as the temperature in their core is not hot enough to destroy the element. So, when a star eats a planet, the lithium deposits in the planet scatter in the stellar atmosphere and this is what helped the scientists to figure out that our solar-twin had ingested a nearby planet.

So does this mean and planets in our solar system, including our Earth, could meet a similar fate?

According to calculations made by Debra Fischer, who is a professor of astronomy at the Yale University, billions of years from now, the sun could eat away Mercury, which means that Earth would be next in line once the sun is done digesting Venus. But for now, we can relax.

Meanwhile, the team continues to monitor more than 60 solar twins and is looking for more exoplanets around them.