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Dead star’s cannibalism of its planetary system is most far-reaching ever witnessed


Still Waters
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Posted (IP: Staff) ·

The violent death throes of a nearby star so thoroughly disrupted its planetary system that the dead star left behind — known as a white dwarf — is sucking in debris from both the system’s inner and outer reaches, UCLA astronomers and colleagues report today.

This is the first case of cosmic cannibalism in which astronomers have observed a white dwarf consuming both rocky-metallic material, likely from a nearby asteroid, and icy material, presumed to be from a body similar to those found in the Kuiper belt at the fringe of our own solar system.

“We have never seen both of these kinds of objects accreting onto a white dwarf at the same time,” said lead researcher Ted Johnson, a physics and astronomy major at UCLA who graduated last week. “By studying these white dwarfs, we hope to gain a better understanding of planetary systems that are still intact.”

https://newsroom.ucla.edu/releases/dead-star-caught-ripping-up-a-planetary-system

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