The New York TimesThe New York Times

The Juicy Secrets of Stars That Eat Their Planets

By Becky Ferreira

19 Aug 2022 · 6 min read

Editor's Note

This article explains in an accessible way the science behind stars and how, one day, our own sun will engulf planet earth. Read this article to discover recent findings.

The sun has nourished life on Earth, but it will not be so hospitable forever. Five billion years into the future, our solar system’s star will grow so immense that Mercury, Venus and, possibly, Earth, will be swallowed whole.

It may seem like an ignominious end to our beloved home. But scientists think that this process of “planetary engulfment,” in which stars devour their own planets, is common in the life cycle of star systems.

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