Not to worry, but many stars seem to eat their planets.

Is our solar system normal or odd? Scientists are beginning to understand one of astronomy's biggest mysteries as they study more than 5,500 exoplanets (and counting) around other stars. 


However, a serious complication complicates the search for “normal” planetary systems: some stars eat their own planets.


A recent Nature study suggests that planetary engulfment may be a cosmic norm rather than a malfunction. 


 Researchers from around the world examined dozens of pairs of co-natal stars—stars born at the same moment from the same dust and gas. 


Both should start with similar compositions. Scientists observed that 8% of twin couples had one star that was emitting planet-like components.


According to research author Yuan-Sen Ting, an astrophysicist at the Australian National University, “the signals we see are really strong.” The team's 8 percent estimate may be low, but weaker, harder-to-confirm evidence of planetary engulfment may also be present.


Before, co-natal stellar twins were researched to find hungry stars on planet-based diets, but not so thoroughly. Study "links so many things together. 


 Although not involved with the research, University of California, Riverside astrophysicist Stephen Kane says it's cool.


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