MIT Researchers Witness The Earth's Final Terrifying Fate

Many superhero films have shown the end of the world, whether it be as a multiversal danger, an approaching comet, or a collapse of society. Scientists have now witnessed the actual event. Scientists have reportedly observed what the end of the Earth might be if it were to be engulfed by a fading star, according to a report from MIT News.

The article refers to a study that was published in Nature and was carried out by researchers from MIT, Harvard University, Caltech, and other institutions. On the team that made the discovery, Kishalay De, a postdoc at MIT's Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research, said that the event they were watching involved a dying star and was like "seeing the future of the Earth."

Astronomers first noticed a strange surge of energy coming from a dying star that increased in temperature rapidly over only 10 days before inexplicably disappearing. De recalls the moment they first saw the peculiar event was place: "It was unlike any stellar outburst I had seen in my life."

The chemicals that were being released were at very low temperatures, despite the dying star brightening, which indicates high temperatures. Using NASA's infrared satellite observatory, NEOWISE, they traced the origin of the anomaly as they investigated the incident further, but what they found was startling. De remembered, "That infrared data made me fall off my chair."

It was a "happy coincidence" that the scientists recalled that the mass of Jupiter is likewise approximately 1/1000 that of the sun when they recognized that the object that smashed into the dying star was only about 1/1000 of its size. They came to the conclusion that what they were witnessing was a planet colliding with its own star as a result. This is an interesting discovery for scientists since it is one of the first instances of a star consuming one of its own planets that has been detected. Scientists have witnessed such events before they happen and their repercussions afterward.

De, MIT's Deepto Chakrabarty, Anna-Christina Eilers, Erin Kara, Robert Simcoe, Richard Teague, and Andrew Vanderburg were co-authors on the study, which also included contributions from Caltech, the Harvard and Smithsonian Centers for Astrophysics, among other organizations. The Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) at Caltech's Palomar Observatory, the W.M. Keck Observatory, and NASA's NEOWISE mission were among the instruments used to study the fading star.

ZTF SLRN-2020, a fading star in the constellation Aquila, is roughly 15,000 light-years away and is responsible for this planet's demise. Amazingly, this took place within our galaxy, as opposed to Star Wars, which takes place in a galaxy far, far away. When the sun eventually runs out of fuel, which is predicted to happen in around 5 billion years, Earth will meet an apocalyptic end.

This finding provides a unique window into the turbulent and dynamic processes at the heart of dying stars. Astronomers can better grasp how planets form, develop, and eventually perish by examining these phenomena in greater detail. As a result, we may be better able to comprehend both the nature of the world and our own position within it.