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Observed for the first time: a dying star swallows planets

When stars reach the end of their life cycle, they expand to gigantic sizes – bad luck for all planets in the system that orbit too close to their host star: they are simply swallowed up. The research team has now observed this process in real time for the first time. The spectacle occurred about 12,000 light-years away, but can only be inferred indirectly from Earth based on the star’s variable brightness and chemical composition.