A Star Wars-like scenario seems to be playing out in the deep space. This follows the discovery of the presence of a planet-gobbling star described as "a solar twin" thanks to the Sun-like features including temperature, age, and composition.

The star in question, named as HIP68468m is 300 light-years away and has similar size, mass, and luminosity as Sun.

The surprise discovery was made by a team of international scientists who detailed the findings in a paper published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.

Evidence Of Excess Lithium

Analysis of the solar twin's composition suggested that HIP68468 had munched up some of the worlds that rotated it as had been evidenced by the heavy amount of lithium in the star's surface.

The lithium content was four times more than expected of the star given its age was six billion years.

Planets with less temperature than Sun preserve lithium without melting them away. Also, intriguing was the presence of vast heat-resisting metals seen mainly on rocky planets.

However, some researchers have ruled out an analogous situation with respect to Sun and Earth.

"It doesn't mean that the sun will 'eat' the Earth anytime soon," said Jacob Bean, assistant professor of astronomy and astrophysics at UChicago and co-author of the research.

The star-eating planet happens to be a case of chemical remains belonging to a few worlds smeared in the atmosphere of HIP68468.

"It can be very hard to know the history of a particular star, but once in a while we get lucky and find stars with chemical compositions that likely came from in-falling planets," said Debra Fischer, a professor of astronomy at Yale University who was not involved in the research.

Distant Threat To Earth

The carnivorous star HIP 68468 was found out after astronomers led by Jorge Melendez of São Paulo University in Brazil studied the star using the big telescope at Chile's La Silla Observatory. He detected a missing planet while accounting for three that used to orbit the star.

The very idea of a planet falling into a star and being eaten up may be scary. But that is not uncommon. Of the 60 solar twins under watch, 15 percent has excess lithium.

"This suggests that about 15 percent of stars like the Sun must have devoured planets," says Melendez.

Scientists think the Earth's Solar System is also vulnerable. Already there are projections that Sun may swallow up Mercury and Venus. Maybe Earth will be on the chopping block in a billion years.

Concern prevails that HIP 68468 can be a repeat offender with the super-Earth- HIP 68468b being a potential target as the tight orbit may make it weaker.

"It's as if we saw a cat sitting next to a bird cage," quips Fischer.

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