Astronomers are still trying to find out how the planets have been formed. With a number of stars discovered with planets, scientists want to find out how some stars tend to have planetary systems with them. A planet-eating star might have clues to planet forming, as a study now finds.
Astronomers are looking into a star system that has a star much like the Sun. The star though is said to have swallowed up some of the planets there. The star is HIP68468. It is about 300 light years from the Earth.
The first exoplanet was found in the system in 2015. Two others have been seen that could likely be planets as well. The two planets are near the host star, with the second plant being almost the same as that of the Earth. The mass of this planet is just three times the Earth's mass. The other planet is much larger, which is 50 percent larger than Neptune and located at the same distance as Venus is from the Sun.
What interest researchers on HIP68468 is its composition. Unlike other stars, it has four times the amount of lithium found for a star that's 6 billion years old. Lithium is normally consumed by a star, while planets will preserve lithium. That is why researchers speculate that the star has likely devoured some of its planets.
Debra Fischer, an Astronomy professor at Yale University and not involved with the study, has said that it can be hard to know the history of a star. There are however clues to its history by looking into its chemical composition, according to UChicago News. By looking into its chemical composition, astronomers can have an idea on what is happening to it.
Studying the star is Jacob Bean, professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Chicago and co-author of the research. To study the star system, the team has used the 3.6 meter telescope at La Silla Observatory in Chile, as Science Daily reports. Megan Bedell, a doctoral student from the University of Chicago and co-author of the research said that the team plans to study other stars to see if such an occurrence is common.
Planet formation is still being studied by astronomers. While there are some theories, much of it is still a matter of speculation. A planet-eating star might have clues to planet forming. Scientists have also discovered rings around a star that might indicate planet formation.