As odd as it might sound, the continuous discoveries of exoplanets is becoming somewhat rather ordinary. We currently know of over a thousand exoplanets, and as incredible as that is I just don’t get too excited anymore when a few new ones are thrown on top of the list.
But that doesn’t mean new discoveries involving
exoplanets can’t occasionally blow my mind all over again. For instance the finding of a planet that is disintegrating thanks to the death of its host star.
Each new exoplanet we discover adds a little bit more to what we already know about the universe. But while each new planet is unique and worthy of study it’s “just another planet” that isn’t dramatically expanding our understanding of the universe. However, finding a planet that is in the process of being consumed by it’s host star is a significant step forward in our comprehension of the life process of solar systems.
It has long been surmised that in around four billion years our sun will reach the end of its life
and begin to expand, engulfing the inner planets
before going nova and completely obliterating itself in the process. Up until this recent discovery of such an event actually taking place it was technically only a theory. Now we’ve found evidence to support that theory.
It makes us accept the fact that our world will not last forever. Even if we manage not to render the Earth inhabitable, or at the very least, destroy ourselves, the planet itself is awaiting the arrival of a celestial grim reaper all its own. This discovery is as much about putting our own existence in perspective as anything else.
Image Source: [dailygalaxy]