A distant sun-like star may have devoured a dozen or more of its own Earth-size planets, new research shows.
Researchers named the star Kronos, after the Titan of Greek mythology who ate his own children out of fears they'd dethrone him, according to a statement from Princeton University. Kronos belongs to a binary star system, or double-star system, located 350 light-years from Earth.
Astronomers discovered the star's ravenous habits while comparing its chemical composition to that of its stellar twin, named Krios — the Greek Titan god of the constellations and Kronos' older brother. The results showed that Kronos had an unusually high level of rock-forming minerals, suggesting it feasted on roughly 15 Earth masses' worth of rocky planets in its lifetime, according to the study.
Both stars — designated as HD 240430 and HD 240429, respectively — are approximately 4 billion years old, and they appear to be yellow G-type stars, similar to (but slightly younger than) the sun. Observations also showed that the stars orbit each other once every 10,000 years or so, according to the study.
At first, astronomers questioned whether the two stars were in fact a binary pair, because they are located a whopping two light-years apart. But further research confirmed that the co-moving stars have the same radial velocities. Their movements toward and away from Earth match — a key indicator of a binary star system, according to the statement... More ... (Space.com - 23 Oct 2017)
BELOW: Researchers found that the sun-like star Kronos likely consumed 15 Earth masses' worth of rocky planets.