Beware of sun-like stars: a third would have devoured their own planets!

Beware of sun-like stars: a third would have devoured their own planets!

Beware of sun-like stars

About a third of the stars similar to our Sun may have "devoured" their own planets: a new NASA study suggests, which could be useful in the search for Earth-like planets, helping astronomers to rule out star systems that could hardly still contain worlds similar to ours. "This will likely end up being one of the classic articles on this topic," said Eric Mamajek, an astronomer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory who was not involved in the work. Researchers actually knew for decades that stars could, at times, engulf surrounding planets, but the new study offers more accurate tools for detecting when these kinds of events have already occurred. Rocky planets such as Earth are indeed rich in heavy elements such as iron, silicon and titanium, while stars mostly contain lighter material such as hydrogen, helium, oxygen and carbon. When a planet is engulfed, its heavy elements diffuse into the star's outer layers, leaving telltale absorption signatures in its light.

“If a star is abnormally rich in iron but not in other elements such as carbon and oxygen, this can be interpreted as a signature of a planetary engulfment ”, explained Lorenzo Spina, astrophysicist of the Astronomical Observatory of Padua, who led the study. He and his colleagues studied how often this happens, looking at 107 binary systems containing two stars similar to the Sun. Binary stars in fact arise from the same cloud of gas and dust, so their chemical composition should be almost identical. The team also chose partners who were extremely close in mass and temperature to each other, essentially twins.

In 33 of these couples, one of the companions showed elevated levels of iron compared to the other, a sign of planetary cannibalism. These same partners were also rich in lithium, giving further credence to the study hypothesis. Although Sun-like stars are born with significant amounts of lithium, they burn it within the first 100 million years of their life, so seeing it in older stars in the study sample indicated that it likely came from more recent absorptions.

Using these different tests, the research team could therefore hypothesize that between 20% and 35% of the Sun-like stars consumed some planets similar to ours. Such events could occur in systems in which gravitational interactions between planets would cause a collision with their own star or an approach such as to allow the latter to slowly vaporize and absorb it. The results were published in Nature Astronomy.

A Bad Last Day for New York’s Dog of a Governor—and His Dog

Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/Photos AP

President Harry Truman famously said that “if you want a friend in politics, get a dog.” We learned the inverse of that on Monday, from a man on his way out of office: If you’re a dog in politics, beware of Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Cuomo’s final day as governor began with a story in the Albany Times-Union about how he was trying get someone, anyone, at the governor’s mansion he’s moving out of to take Captain now that he won’t have a staff to take care of the dog he’d adopted in 2018, just before he publicly parted ways with long-term girlfriend Sandra Lee. The Times-Union reported that Cuomo used to laugh as the “high-strung mix of shepherd, Siberian and malamute” nipped State Police officers and executive mansion staffers, so maybe it’s no surprise there were no takers; one “mansion staffer recently took the dog home for a few days but decided he was too much.”

Cuomo’s office ripped the paper’s “ill-informed source” and suggested that the about-to-be-ex-governor, who will reportedly be crashing with his sister, was looking for a sitter not a taker. But in any case it certainly wouldn’t be the first time this governor has overstepped proper boundaries with his staff.

New York’s First Dad Andrew Cuomo Was Dishing About His Daughters While Creeping on His Staffers

Setting aside the How I Beat the Virus book he got paid an eye-popping $5 million to write in the middle of a year when New York had the nation’s highest death count from it and had New York State employees (his office says they “volunteered” on their on time) type up and print for him, he’s leaving on Tuesday because he got caught pestering half of the women on his staff for sex while deputizing the other half into a powerful “mean girls” cabal (his nickname for them) to keep the junior ones in line and quiet.

You’d never know that from the centerpiece of Cuomo’s dog of a last day— a pre-taped farewell address that was a chance to go gracefully that of course he refused to take. He didn’t apologize to any of the 11 women who say he mistreated them, but instead declared “the truth will come out in time.”

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More than anything, the address was Cuomo’s chance to remind us of that brief shining moment in March 2020 when we thought he might rescue us from Trump’s horrendous pandemic mismanagement. But March 2020 feels like a century ago with what we know about how Cuomo treated the women around him and how he hid nursing home numbers that helped expose his own lethal mismanagement of the COVID crisis.

The moment has long passed when millions watched YouTube star Randy Rainbow’s song praising the star governor and Lingua Franca sold $380 cashmere Cuomosexual sweaters that they now now restitch for free to say “believe survivors.”

For me, I’m still apologizing for my March 2020 hot take that has aged like blue cheese left in the sun. I did write about how my Cuomo crush turned out to be Stockholm syndrome and how I think he needs to resign, but being so wrong about something so stupid has for sure worn on my already dicey self-esteem.

On Monday, Cuomo had a last chance to be the good, decent Democratic pol he’s long sold himself as. But instead, he obfuscated, and suggested the worst about the women who accused him and about the woman, Attorney General Letitia James, who investigated and confirmed their claims in a 168-page report based on the testimony of 179 witnesses.

“I understand that there are moments of intense political pressure and media frenzy that cause a rush to judgment. But that is not right. It’s not fair or sustainable. Facts still matter,” he said, without, you know, providing any such facts. He continued: “A firecracker can start a stampede but at one point everyone looks around and says: Why are we running? The truth is ultimately always revealed.”

Print that up and put it in a fortune cookie!

A farewell speech by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is broadcast live on a screen in Times Square on his final day in office.

Andrew Kelly/Reuters

Perhaps feminist Moira Donegan put it best, summing up Cuomo’s tactic for dealing with the numerous allegations: “Cuomo’s strategy from the start has been to lean into the popular but sexist understanding of sexual harassment as salacious and ultimately trivial—rather than as a real violation and a meaningful indictment of his fitness for power.”

Cuomo now says he’s taking Captain with him when he goes and Cuomo’s top aide, Melissa DeRosa (who told the A.G. that she hated the Mean Girls nickname Cuomo gave her, even as the report details who she led the pushback against the women who say her boss mistreated them), says he’ll be spending his time fishing and catching up with his family.

For as long as he’s out of the only game he’s known, he’ll presumably be spending more time with his grown daughters, though he’ll no longer have the power to transfer a boyfriend who’s also a state trooper 200 miles away. It may be too late for Cuomo to find a friend in politics, but here’s hoping, for Captain’s sake, that the dog and his person find a way to take care of each other now.

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