Nearby planets may be destroyed as a sun star ages

06/7/2013 | New Scientist

Scientists have concluded that older stars, which swell with age, exert such extreme gravitational forces that they rip apart and destroy their closest planets. A planet-tracking survey found that younger stars were closely orbited by large planets called hot Jupiters, but the planets were not detected in the orbit of older stars that expanded to several times their original size. When Earth's sun becomes a red giant in 6 billion years, Earth could face the same fate as the hot Jupiters of older suns, suggests Kevin Schlaufman of MIT who worked on the planet-tracking project.

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