In a world’s first, astronomers have witnessed a star consuming a gas giant about the size of Jupiter in the Aquila constellation. The hungry star had been around for about 10 billion years before it swallowed up the giant planet. Researchers didn’t completely understand what was happening until more recently after running further tests and conducting additional research.
The End of Days in Outer Space
According to an AP report, the star swallowing up the planet produced a “swift hot outburst of light, followed by a long-lasting stream of dust shining brightly in cold infrared energy.” The event happened between 10,000 and 15,000 years ago, but the researchers have only come to understand what took place with the help of the most recent scientific research.
The Fate of Our Planet in 5 Billion Years
Co-author Morgan MacLeod explained that Earth will suffer the same fate, but thankfully, it won’t happen for another 5 billion years. Even then, it will be a spectacular event that won’t endanger anyone currently alive. Unfortunately, human civilization may not exist to witness the end of our planet.
Absorption by the Sun
When our sun eventually becomes a red giant, it will consume Mercury and Venus before eventually capturing and absorbing Earth. It will then turn into a white dwarf star.
Mitigating the Consequences
While there isn’t much we can do to stop the sun’s expansion and swallowing up of our planet, there are a few things we can do to mitigate the consequences. For one, we could attempt to save ourselves by transplanting humanity to another planet capable of sustaining life. Another potential solution involves commencing terraformation as soon as possible to make other planets habitable, should that become necessary.
Diverting Asteroids in Space: A Success for NASA
In other space news, NASA recently accomplished a significant feat of diverting asteroids in space, confirming that movies like Armageddon and Deep Impact aren’t entirely works of fiction. After successfully diverting the first asteroid, the scientists at NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office (PDCO) have demonstrated they can quickly analyse and react to potential asteroid impacts.
NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office
NASA’s PDCO uses data from ground-based telescopes and space probes to locate, track and characterise near-Earth objects. The PDCO is in charge of NASA’s efforts to detect potential future asteroid impacts to Earth and work towards reducing the potential threat.
The Importance of Diverting Asteroids
Diverting asteroids is critical because space rocks can pose a significant threat if they enter into Earth’s atmosphere, even if they don’t crash into our planet. Rather, the impact of an asteroid in the atmosphere could still release energy equivalent to an exploding nuclear weapon, emiting heat that would ignite forest fires and causing shockwaves that would tear apart buildings.
The recent sighting of a star swallowing a planet offers a glimpse of how our own planet will meet its end someday – and it won’t be pretty. But witnessing this event also reminds us of how insignificant we are in the grand scheme of the universe. In the meantime, diverting asteroids is a crucial aspect of planetary defence as it could potentially save countless lives. Working towards solutions that might help us move to a more habitable planet is also crucial if we hope to ensure human survival beyond the next five billion years.