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Dying Stars Caught Eating Rocky Alien Planets

•, Staff
Evidence of the distant celestial meals was found around four white dwarfs — stars that are in the final stages of their lives. The stars are surrounded by dust and rocky debris from shattered alien planets that appear to have once shared very similar compositions to Earth, according to astrophysicists at the University of Warwick in the U.K.

"What we are seeing today in these white dwarfs several hundred light-years away could well be a snapshot of the very distant future of the Earth," said study leader Boris Gänsicke, a professor in the department of physics at the University of Warwick, in a statement.

The researchers used the Hubble Space Telescope to examine the atmospheres of more than 80 white dwarf stars within a few hundred light-years of the sun. They found that the most common chemical elements in the dust around four of the white dwarfs were oxygen, magnesium, iron and silicon — the four elements that make up roughly 93 percent of the Earth, the astronomers said. 

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