Don’t let this headline stop you in your tracks. This isn’t the logline for Hollywood’s latest attempt to bring attention to space Instead, it is researched based off of a strong statement pulled from a study performed at Princeton University. This study focused on a star named Kronis which is named after a mythological figure in Greek mythology. In Greek mythology Kronos was a Titan who ate his children because he feared that one day they would take his throne. Going back to the actual study, it is now believed that more than 15 alien planets of a size equal to Earth potentially were devoured by this legendary star.
If reading this headline made you shiver with anxiety over the potential star-devouring apocalypse, have no fear. If Princeton’s study was correct that Kronos did most of its damage nearly 350 total light-years away from our home planet. If Kronis is so far away then how did scientific research point to this star being such a hungry, planet eating machine? Well, that is really the fascinating thing about the research and the technology. Astronomers working at Princeton Universe looked at the chemical composition of Krios, the twin star to Kronos, and found that they had differing levels of a special type of rock-creating mineral. Using this as the basis of their research it was revealed that Kronos potentially ate up to 15 planets of an equitable size to Earth through its lifetime.
Kronos and Krios are designed HD 240430 and HD240429 have been labeled as over 4 billion years old and now appear in a category known as the ‘Yellow G-Type Star’ which is similar in size and shape to our sun. After extensive research, astronomers were able to verify that these two stars were a binary pair despite being over two light-years separated. Astronomers came to this conclusion after finding out that both stars had mirrored radial velocities. Despite being so similar in radial velocity and age the stars are built out of completely different mineral levels. Kronos separated itself from Krios with its extra-high level of magnesium, silicon, iron, yttrium, chromium, and aluminum. As we said above, these mineral quantities were the driving force behind the ultimate declaration that Kronos was a planet devouring machine.
NASA astronomer Jessie Christiansen said of the celestial revelation, “At the moment, we are still at the stage of piecing together different observations to determine how and when exoplanets form.” With this latest discovery teams of astronomers around the world may finally have a clearer picture.