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The Conversation

Upgrades made to the LIGO gravitational wave detectors “will significantly boost the sensitivity of LIGO and should allow the facility to observe more-distant objects that produce smaller ripples in spacetime,” writes Pennsylvania State University Prof. Chad Hanna in a piece for The Conversation.

Mashable

Astronomers from MIT and elsewhere have become the first to witness a star consume an entire planet, reports Elisha Sauers for Mashable. “The new study confirms that when a sun-like star nears the end of its life, it expands into a red giant, 100 to 1,000 times its original size, eventually overtaking nearby planets,” explains Sauers. “Such events are thought to be rare, occurring only a few times each year throughout the galaxy.”

Smithsonian Magazine

A team of astronomers, including researchers from MIT, witnessed a star swallowing up an entire planet for the first time, reports Margaret Osborne for Smithsonian Magazine. “For decades, scientists have only been able to witness the before and after of such planetary engulfment,” writes Osborne.

CNN

Researchers from MIT and elsewhere have observed, for the first time, a dying star consuming a planet, reports Jack Guy for CNN. “The fact that the solar system planets would get engulfed into the sun in the future was something I had read first in high school, so it was surreal to realize that we may have found the first ever example of catching a similar event in real time,” says postdoc Kishalay De.

Reuters

Reuters reporter Will Dunham writes that scientists from MIT and elsewhere have “observed a star, bloated in its old age, swallowing a Jupiter-like planet, then expelling some material into space in an energetic belch.” Postdoc Kishalay De notes that "this planet doesn't go out without a fight. Even before it is engulfed whole, our data provides evidence that the planet tries to rip out the star's surface layers with its own gravity. But the star happens to be a thousand times more massive so the planet can't do much and eventually makes the plunge.”

The Washington Post

Researchers from MIT, Harvard, Caltech and elsewhere have spotted a hot, Jupiter-sized world being ingested by a sun-like star, reports Kasha Patel for The Washington Post. “The hope is that we would actually be able to use this entire new suite of instruments to try to find every single planet being engulfed in our galaxy in real time,” explains postdoc Kishalay De. “That’s only going to become possible now because of this discovery and together with the availability of instrumentation.”

NPR

Postdoc Kishalay De speaks with NPR’s Nell Greenfieldboyce about how he and his colleagues have observed, for the first time, a sun-like star consuming an orbiting planet. "We weren't quite looking for this. We were looking for similar things, but not quite this," says De. "Like a lot of discoveries in science, this happened to be an accidental discovery that really opened our eyes to a new type of phenomenon."

The New York Times

New York Times reporter Becky Ferreira spotlights how astronomers from MIT, Harvard, Caltech and elsewhere have spotted a dying star swallowing a large planet, “offering the first direct glimpse of a gnarly process called planetary engulfment that most likely awaits Earth in the deep future.” Postdoc Kishalay De explains that: “Finding an event like this really puts all of the theories that have been out there to the most stringent tests possible. It really opens up this entire new field of research.”

New Scientist

A team of astronomers from MIT and other institutions have detected a “sun-like star gobbling up a planet and belching out a blast of light and energy,” reports Leah Crane for New Scientist. “In the past, all of the evidence that we’ve had of stars eating planets is from looking at stars that have done that hundreds of thousands of years ago,” says postdoc Kishalay De. “But we have never caught a star red-handed eating a planet.”

Associated Press

AP reporter Marcia Dunn writes that scientists from MIT, Harvard, Caltech and elsewhere have “caught a star in the act of swallowing a planet — not just a nibble or bite, but one big gulp.” Dunn explains that: “Massachusetts Institute of Technology researcher Kishalay De spotted the luminous outburst in 2020 while reviewing sky scans taken by the California Institute of Technology’s Palomar Observatory. It took additional observations and data-crunching to unravel the mystery: Instead of a star gobbling up its companion star, this one had devoured its planet.”

The Guardian

Astronomers from MIT, Harvard, Caltech and other institutions have, for the first time, captured the moment when a star swallows a nearby planet, reports Ian Sample for The Guardian. “Like a lot of discoveries in science, this happened to be an accidental discovery that really opened our eyes to a new type of phenomenon,” explains postdoctoral scholar Kishalay De. “This is going to be the final fate of Earth.”

New York Times

New York Times reporter Dennis Overbye spotlights how scientists have captured a new image of the black hole at the center of the Messier 87 galaxy, bringing visibility to the “cooler outer regions of the black hole’s fiery accretion disk.” Research Scientist Kazunori Akiyama explained, “I’m really excited to see this result, because now we have a new tool to capture what is surrounding the famous E.H.T.’s black hole. We will be able to film how the matter falls into a black hole and eventually manages to escape.”

Reuters

Scientists have captured a new image of M87*, the black hole at the center of the Messier 87 galaxy, showing the “launching point of a colossal jet of high-energy particles shooting outward into space,” reports Will Dunham for Reuters. "This is what astronomers and astrophysicists have been wanting to see for more than half a century," explains Research Scientist Kazunori Akiyama. "This is the dawn of an exciting new era."

Gizmodo

A team of researchers have produced a new image of the black hole at the center of galaxy Messier 87, reports Isaac Schultz for Gizmodo. “The new image shows a larger ring of accreted material than the first images of the black hole indicated. At the center of the ring is the black hole—or its ‘shadow,’ as scientists say, because the black hole itself cannot be imaged,” writes Schultz.

Popular Science

An international team of astronomers, including MIT scientists, have captured new images of  black hole in a nearby galaxy, reports Jon Kelvey for Popular Science. “Going forward, astronomers plan to observe the black hole at other wavelengths to highlight different parts and layers of its structure, and better understand how such cosmic behemoths form at the hearts of galaxies and contribute to galactic evolution,” writes Kelvey.