Sun-like star may have devoured 15 alien planets

A distant sun-like star may have devoured a dozen or more of its own Earth-size planets, new research shows.

Researchers named the star Kronos, after the Titan of Greek mythology who ate his own children out of fears they’d dethrone him, according to a statement from Princeton University. Kronos belongs to a binary star system, or double-star system, located 350 light-years from Earth.

Astronomers discovered the star’s ravenous habits while comparing its chemical composition to that of its stellar twin, named Krios — the Greek Titan god of the constellations and Kronos’ older brother. The results showed that Kronos had an unusually high level of rock-forming minerals, suggesting it feasted on roughly 15 Earth masses’ worth of rocky planets in its lifetime, according to the study. [Gallery: Dying Stars Consume Rocky Alien Planets]

Both stars — designated as HD 240430 and HD 240429, respectively — are approximately 4 billion years old, and they appear to be yellow G-type stars, similar to (but slightly younger than) the sun. Observations also showed that the stars orbit each other once every 10,000 years or so, according to the study.

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