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Local Paper Retracts News Alert Claiming ‘The Sun Just Exploded’

Readers of the Georgia-based Athens Banner-Herald may have been briefly shocked to read a news alert on the paper’s website claiming “the sun just exploded.”

The Banner-Herald quickly took down the news alert, issuing a correction saying “the sun has not exploded.” As it turns out, the paper was the victim of some sort of prank early Monday.

“We’re currently trying to determine what happened to ensure it doesn’t happen again,“ Joel Kight, director of digital of the Athens Banner-Herald, said in a release issued after the false news alert went out.

“And to our knowledge, the sun has not exploded,” Kight added.

On Monday, an OnlineAthens.com news alert went out saying “[t]his is the emergency broadcast system. Please ignore this message as always.”

“BTW, the sun just exploded, and we’re all about to die,” the OnlineAthens.com news alert read.

So the sun didn’t really explode, but if it did explode it would happen in a “series of pulses” that would tear surrounding planets apart, according to Space.com.

After about 10 billion years of fusing hydrogen into helium, a sun grows into a star called a “red giant” after which they begin “throwing off much of their mass in the form of a giant shell of gas called a planetary nebula,” according to Space.com. “What remains of the star is a superdense white dwarf star at the center.”

“The star’s planets, if any, are shattered by the blast,” according to Space.com.

Here’s a graphic detailing the phases a sun goes through before becoming a white dwarf:

Infographic: How stars like the sun destroy their planets.

Source SPACE.com: All about our solar system, outer space and exploration.

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