Scientists Spot End of World
Remains of solar systems discovered around dead stars
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 21, 2009 2:50 AM CDT
A new image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope showing a turbulent star-forming region.   (AP Photo/NASA/JPL)
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(Newser) – Astronomers looking at dead stars trillions of miles away believe they have glimpsed Earth's eventual fate, the Times of London reports. The scientists found that many white dwarfs—stars that swelled, burned out, and collapsed—are surrounded by a dust they think is the remnants of planets like ours destroyed in the stars' death throes.

"Many of the systems we are studying will have been similar to our own," said a researcher, who estimates up to 3% of white dwarfs once had solar systems. "It’s a possibility that some of them could once have held life.”