First glimpse of final moments of disintegrating planets

Long-awaited observations of crumbling planets being consumed by their ageing host star confirm decades of indirect evidence.

An artist's impression of planetary debris slamming into the surface of a white dwarf star.
Artist’s impression of a white dwarf, G29—38, accreting planetary material from a circumstellar debris disk. When the planetary material hits the white dwarf surface, a plasma is formed and cools via detectable X-ray emission. Credit: University of Warwick/Mark Garlick