500 light years away there's a star slightly larger than our own, which until recently had a planet orbiting it at roughly the same distance Earth is from the Sun. Unfortunately, all that's left of the planet is hot dust.

Astronomers at Gemini Observatory announced last week that the star HD 131488 is surrounded by a massive haze of dust. Some of it is cool, and has settled as far from the star as the Kuiper Belt is from our own Sun. But a lot of the dust at an Earthlike distance, and is unusually warm, suggesting that it came from a "catastrophic collision." According to a release from the observatory:

"The hot dust almost certainly came from a recent catastrophic collision between two large rocky bodies in HD 131488's inner planetary system," [astronomer Carl] Melis said. "The cooler dust, however, is unlikely to have been produced in a catastrophic collision and is probably left over from planet formation that took place farther away from HD 131488."

Just when we were about to find Earth II . . . the cylons already destroyed it!


via Gemini Observatory