Meet the Sun-Like Star that Ate Its Own Planetary Children

Khryss | Published 2017-09-30 21:57

Star: HD 240430. Nickname: Kronos.

Now here's something you don't get to read everyday--twinkling travel buddies go through galaxies about 320 light years from Earth. Also, one of them ate its children.

Star HD 240430 and HD 240429 otherwise called as Kronos and Krios is in a binary system. This approximately 4 billion years old "brothers" may have been born from the same interstellar and even first shared the same chemical make-up. But they're nowhere from being the same now.

In fact, they're so chemically different lead researcher Semyeong Oh at Princeton University "initially thought these two stars must not be in a binary". Together with her team, they figured the twins may have very different lives.

Krios is living with smaller concentrations of elements like lithium, magnesium and iron surrounding it than its dear brother, Kronos. Researchers suggest this could be due to Kronos's healthy appetite-- devouring  several orbiting rocky planets throughout its life.

If you're not familiar, Kronos is a titan of Greek mythology who devoured his own children for the fear of being overthrown by them. His brother, Krios, is a rather more anonymous deity.

"Oh’s team calculate that it would take the chemical elements from 15 Earth masses crushed up and scattered throughout Kronos’s roiling atmosphere to explain the star’s blend of excess elements," NewScientist reported.

“I was really excited when I saw this,” says Johanna Teske at the Carnegie Observatories in Pasadena, California, who has looked at similar pairs for a different research. “A lot of those signatures were very small,” she said. “This is a huge signature.”

How the star devour its planets, however, is still unknown.


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