Red Giant Destroying Planet - V1Image cropped - click to view
Astronomers at Noir Lab (Tucson, Arizona, USA) have detected what they believe is the first sighting of the destruction of a gas giant planet caused by the expansion of its ageing red giant star. All sun-like stars expand as their nuclear fuel runs out, culminating in a red giant phase, in which the star can be hundreds of times its original size. When this happens, planets that are too close will be engulfed by the star and completely merged with it. The astronomers in question have detected emissions from a red giant star that are consistent with such an event, making it the first time this has actually been detected.