White Dwarfs Eat Earth-Like Planets For Breakfast
A new discovery by the Hubble Space Telescope has allowed astronomers to find four white dwarf stars with stellar atmospheres consisting of oxygen, magnesium, iron, and silicon. Through this we are able to deduct that planets used to be found orbiting around the star before being destroyed by the extreme tidal gravitational forces and instability.
So, here’s one doomsday prediction to look forward to (and it may well happen): in a few billion years when our sun runs out of fuel and bloats to a red giant, in which it will shed large quantities of mass before disintegrating into a white dwarf surrounded by a planetary nebula into which the remains of the planets will rain down.
(Image credit: Mark A. Garlick/space-art.co.uk/University of Warwick)