‘Earth’s ultimate adios’: Planet spiraling toward sun may give glimpse into Earth’s end

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A man watches as the sun sets over the Pacific Ocean off of Ocean Beach Sunday, Dec. 18, 2022, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel) Charlie Riedel/AP

‘Earth’s ultimate adios’: Planet spiraling toward sun may give glimpse into Earth’s end

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A distant planet spiraling into its sun may give humanity a glimpse of the Earth’s ultimate end, astronomers found.

Kepler 1658b, located 2,600 light years away from Earth, is slowly spiraling toward its aging sun at the rate of 131 milliseconds a year, according to a study published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters. The exoplanet, the first ever observed by the Kepler space telescope in 2009, gives a hint as to how Earth may end in the distant future.

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“Death-by-star is a fate thought to await many worlds and could be the Earth’s ultimate adios billions of years from now as our Sun grows older,” the Center for Astrophysics said in a statement, obtained by AFP.

“If it continues [spiraling] towards its star at the observed rate, the planet will collide with its star in less than three million years,” Shreyas Vissapragada, a postdoc at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and the study’s lead author, told the outlet.

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The findings of the study are unique, as a planet has never been observed spiraling toward its star before. “This is the first time we’ve observed direct evidence for a planet spiraling towards its evolved star,” Vissapragada said.

Although similar in size to our galaxy’s Jupiter, the planet is currently orbiting its sun an eighth of the distance between our Sun and Mercury, making it much hotter. Its already blistering temperature will gradually increase over time, as its aging star grows and its orbit spirals ever nearer.

© 2022 Washington Examiner

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