Astronomers Discover Broken Alien Planet Near White Dwarf
This discovery, which they recently published in a study, could give us a greater insight into how a planet dies. Astronomers discovered the remains of a deceased alien world. They hope to continue the study and better understand the causality.
The team of astronomers conducting the study said the discovered “planetesimal” is the likely cause of a former alien world being destroyed by its host star. Furthermore, the fragments, which whips around the white dwarf in just 123 Earth minutes, may be part of the planet’s core.
Astronomers have named the white dwarf SDSS J122859.93+104032.9.
Boris Gaensicke, co-author of the study had this to say:
“The planetesimal we have discovered is deep into the gravitational well of the white dwarf, much closer to it than we would expect to find anything still alive,“
Mr. Gaensicke, a professor of physics at the University of Warwick, England, added “If it was pure iron, it could survive where it lives now. But equally, it could be a body that is rich in iron but with internal strength to hold it together, which is consistent with the planetesimal being a fairly massive fragment of a planet core,”
The majority of stars in our own Milky Way galaxy will eventually turn into white dwarfs. This occurs when the star has burned through all of its nuclear fuel. However, if a star is enormous enough, to begin with, it will go through a Red Giant phase. This phase sees the star expanding exponentially in size.
Our own star – the Sun – will eventually become a Red Giant. Scientists predict this phase in our star’s life will occur in roughly 5 billion years from now. In the process of expanding, the sun will consume the three most inner planets – Mercury, Venus, and Earth.
The recent study was published in the Science journal. Physics researcher at the University of Warick, Christopher Manser, led the intensive study. The white dwarf they studied, which they refer to as SDSS J122859.93+104032.9, lies about 410 light-years away from our own solar system.
This white dwarf is roughly the size of our home planet. But contains around 70% of our Suns mass.
Finding The White Dwarf
Using one of the worlds biggest telescopes – the Gran Telescopio Canarias (GTC) – the team could carefully study the white dwarf. The GTC, which is located on La Palma – a Spanish island, allowed the researchers to carefully analyze emission lines of gas in the disk. This examination unveiled fragments of planetesimal orbiting the dead star roughly every two hours.
The team came to the conclusion that the discovered object is roughly 370 miles wide. Furthermore, it must have a density between 7.7 to 39 grams per cubic centimeter. Otherwise, the gravity of the white dwarf would have ripped the planetesimal apart.
They believe the remaining fragment is the core of the destroyed alien planet.
Mr. Manser claims the survival of this planetary fragment might cause scientists to rethink how white dwarf shatter planets.
The white dwarf SDSS J122859.93+104032.9 is actually only the second collapsed star astronomers have found that hosts a planetesimal.
The first discovery was made by NASA‘s Kepler space telescope in 2015.
Manser and his team plan to continue searching the universe in order to gain a better knowledge of dying stars and the effect this has on planets.
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