Dec 292011
 
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As stars evolve and expand to become red giants it is believed that the planets close to the star are immediately swallowed. For example, in a few billion years when our sun expands, Mercury, Venus, and Earth will be inside the sun’s atmosphere, which means they will be ultimately burned and die. S. Charpinet and colleagues have recently made an observation that might challenge this opinion: They have found a parent star called KIC 05807616, a hot dwarf that is already beyond the red giant stage in its evolution, which is still tightly circled by a system of planets. These planets obviously survived the disastrous event of the star expanding while becoming a red giant. Various explanations to how this might have been possible can be found in their article.

Read more:

A compact system of small planets around a former red-giant star by S. Charpinet et al., Nature 480, 496-499, 2011

— Leonie Mueck

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