comScore There's a Literal 'Death Star' Capable of Vaporizing Planets | The Mary Sue
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There’s a Literal ‘Death Star’ Vaporizing Planets Out There

Now witness the power of this fully armed and operational white dwarf.

Death Star II

While we’re still a long ways off from the creation of technology that would be capable of destroying entire planetary bodies or systems, it turns out the universe has its very own version of a Death Star.

The doomed planet, which is reported to be about the size of Texas or the dwarf planet Ceres, was originally observed by scientists using NASA’s Kepler space telescope. It’s orbiting a tiny white dwarf star, and appears to be disintegrating in the process. While it fully won’t be vaporized for another million years, this is the first time that scientists have actually managed to glimpse a planet orbiting around a star in this manner.

In a statement based on the findings, grad student Andrew Vanderburg said that this is an unprecedented sight for astrophysicists. “We’re watching a solar system get destroyed.” Due to the star’s intense levels of heat, the planet is essentially being vaporized by the star’s light. Researchers have said that this is a huge find in helping them to further understand stars and the planets in their orbit.

Granted, this “death star” doesn’t have the ability to turn Alderaan into an asteroid field in a manner of seconds, but the fact that we’re tracking the literal obliteration of a solar system, bit by bit, is more than a little… disturbing.

(via LiveScience, image via 20th Century Fox)

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