Stars like our Sun can eat their own planets! Here is what the study reveals | Tech News

Stars like our Sun can eat their own planets! Here is what the study reveals

A latest study has revealed that stars like our Sun can expand and engulf their own planets. Check details here.

| Updated on: Aug 25 2022, 09:51 IST
NASA reveals stunning Jupiter images captured by James Webb Space Telescope
Stars eating their own planet
1/6 Amazingly, currently, on Jupiter, there are auroras, storms, extreme temperatures and powerful winds stirring things up, according to NASA. The images captured by the James Webb Space Telescope could give scientists a look at the conditions of the gas giant. (NASA)
image caption
2/6 Planetary astronomer Imke de Pater, professor emerita of the University of California, Berkeley said, “We hadn’t really expected it to be this good, to be honest. It’s really remarkable that we can see details on Jupiter together with its rings, tiny satellites, and even galaxies in one image.” (NASA)
Stars eating their own planet
3/6 The images were captured by the telescope's Near Infrared Camera (NIRCam) instrument on July 27, which highlighted the planet's unique features. According to NASA, the NIRCam has three specialized infrared filters that showcase details of the planet. (AFP)
image caption
4/6 The image was created by compositing several images. Auroras are visible near the Northern and Southern poles of the planet. According to NASA, the auroras shine in a filter that is mapped to redder colors, which also highlights light reflected from lower clouds and upper hazes. (NASA)
Stars eating their own planet
5/6 The Great Red Spot as well as other clouds can be visible in the images as white since it is reflecting the sunlight. The Great Red Spot is a giant vortex which has been swirling around on Jupiter’s surface for a long time. Jupiter’s 2 moons, Amalthea and Adrastea can also be seen “photo-bombing” the planet. (REUTERS)
Stars eating their own planet
6/6 Thierry Fouchet, a professor at the Paris Observatory, as part of an international collaboration for Webb’s Early Release Science program said, “This one image sums up the science of our Jupiter system program, which studies the dynamics and chemistry of Jupiter itself, its rings, and its satellite system.” (NASA/AFP)
Stars eating their own planet
View all Images
Here is all you need to know about stars eating their own planet. (NASA/SDO)

Stars make the night sky look beautiful along with the Moon. But stars can sometimes turn dangerous too! According to the latest findings, stars like our Sun can eat their own planets. When the Sun starts dying, it will expand to become a red giant, engulfing the inner planets. And now, according to the latest study done using hydrodynamical simulations has revealed the forces acting on a planet when it is swallowed by an expanding star.

"The results show that the interactions of a substellar body (a planet or brown dwarf) with the hot gas in the outer envelope of a sun-like star can lead to a range of outcomes depending on the size of the engulfed object and the stage of the star's evolution," said in a release.

“Evolved stars can be hundreds or even thousands of times larger than their planets, and this disparity of scales makes it difficult to perform simulations that accurately model the physical processes occurring at each scale,” said Yarza, a graduate student in astronomy and astrophysics at UCSC. “Instead, we simulate a small section of the star centered on the planet to understand the flow around the planet and measure the drag forces acting on it,” as quoted in the report.

The results may help explain recent observations of planets and brown dwarfs closely orbiting stellar remnants such as white dwarfs and subdwarfs. "Previous studies have suggested that these systems may be the end result of a planetary engulfment process that involves shrinking of the engulfed body's orbit and ejection of the outer layers of the star," the report said.

“As the planet travels inside the star, drag forces transfer energy from the planet to the star, and the stellar envelope can become unbound if the transferred energy exceeds its binding energy,” Yarza explained.

According to the calculations by Yarza and his colleagues, no substellar bodies smaller than about 100 times the mass of Jupiter can eject the envelope of a sun-like star before it has expanded to about 10 times the radius of the sun. At later stages of stellar evolution and expansion, however, the stellar envelope could be ejected by an object as small as ten times the mass of Jupiter, which would shrink its orbit by several orders of magnitude in the process.

The study also found that planetary engulfment can increase the luminosity of a sun-like star by several orders of magnitude for up to several thousand years, depending on the mass of the engulfed object and the evolutionary stage of the star.

It can be known that a paper on the new findings has been submitted for publication in the Astrophysical Journal and is available online at

Follow HT Tech for the latest tech news and reviews , also keep up with us on Whatsapp channel,Twitter, Facebook, Google News, and Instagram. For our latest videos, subscribe to our YouTube channel.

First Published Date: 25 Aug, 09:51 IST