Researchers found the real-life dead star is ripping apart objects orbiting near it.
Astronomers recently found a real-life ‘Death Star’ while destroying a planet. The researchers have now found the dead star is continuing to disintegrate nearby orbiting objects.
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The dead star also called the ‘Death Star’ is a white dwarfknown as WD 1145+017. It lies about 570 light-years from Earth in the constellation Virgo. The dead star was found tearing apart a planetesimal.
A Planetesimal is a small planetary body, such as a dwarf planet or a large asteroid or moon. Recently the astronomers found the dead star is continuing its killing spree.
Scientists believe the same could happen in Earth's solar system billions of years from now. Studying the phenomenon will also shed light on how dead stars rip apart their planetary systems.
Death Star or white dwarfs are superdense, Earth-size cores of dead stars. They are left behind when stars have exhausted their fuel and veer off from their outer layers. Scientists believe all stars even the Sun will become white dwarfs one day.
Boris Gänsicke is an astronomer at the University of Warwick in England and the lead author of the study. According to Gänsicke, the sun and moon in our solar system will one day balloon out to become a red giant star.
When a white dwarf will appear it will wipe out Mercury and Venus and maybe Earth. Studying the WD 1145+017 will provide a preview of the future of the solar system, according to Space.com.
The information was generated by NASA's planet-hunting Kepler spacecraft. Kepler observed white dwarf tearing apart a planetesimal. Kepler also discovered a comet like tail of dust trailing the white dwarf. The amount of material seen circling the white dwarf was equal to 590-mile-wide.
Scientists suggested the white dwarf ripped apart the planetary body after it spiraled too close. The researchers also found the white dwarf system has rapidly evolved just months since its discovery.
According to Gänsicke, it is exciting and unexpected to see this kind of dramatic change on human timescales. Astronomers also used the Thai National Telescope to observe the white dwarf.
The telescope was used seven months after detecting rocks and dust around it. The researchers found not one but six bodies around the white dwarf. The researchers also believe there could actually be 10 or maybe 15 bodies.
The bodies are orbiting the dead star at same distance as the planetesimal. Each of the bodies is about two to four times the size of the white dwarf.
The researchers suggested the bodies are huge clouds of gas and dust flowing from much smaller disintegrating rocks. In other words it is the remains of other small planets which came too close to the white dwarf. The researchers plan on researching this white dwarf system further.
The researchers may also hunt for similar white dwarf systems elsewhere. Gänsicke believes they can find another one or two or 10 dead stars like the white dwarf. The sample of the current dead star will provide knowledge for comparison.
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The findings of this study were published in the journal Astrophysical Journal Letters.