In the cosmic ocean drifts a lot of mysteries about the existence of which we are unaware. One of these was uncovered five years ago, when astronomers have discovered a lonely star at a distance of 570 light years from Earth, the brightness of which paled irregularly every 4.5 to 5 hours. After careful study, it was found that the white dwarf “WD 1145+017″ that swallows the planet of its system. The opening marked the beginning of necroplasma – perhaps the most unusual field of astronomy that studies the fate of the already dead planet. Like the necromancers of fantasy works, astronomers resurrect dead planet to find out about their past, trying to simulate what were these distant worlds, what was and what influenced the other objects in its star system. Moreover, the study of such planets can tell a lot about the death of themselves star systems.
What is necrophelia and how it appeared?
WD 1145+017 star in the constellation Virgo. The distance from the Earth about 570 light years. This means that what we see now in telescopes, came with a star 570 years ago. A journey into the past, nothing else!
In 2015, astronomers noticed that WD 1145+017 fades with irregular speed, and after careful study realized that the star devouring planet in their solar system through a process called flash tidal destruction – when a star approaches the event horizon of a supermassive black hole and its ripping tidal forces, by the “spagettification”. Read more about what it is and why hitting a black hole, you also turn into spaghetti, read our material. It is noteworthy that it took five years to research was accepted for review in The Astrophysical Journal. All this time the work was in open access on the server of preprints in arXiv.
White dwarf - if, in simple terms, is a star deprived of its source of fusion energy. In fact, it simply cools and dims as recently disconnected the burner electric cooker
Right before becoming a supernova or turn into black dwarf, dying stars become white dwarfs. Such a fate awaits our Sun, but fortunately, no sooner than six billion years. White dwarfs deprived of the source of fusion energy and glow faintly, gradually cooling down and turning red. The atmosphere of such stars typically contain lighter elements such as helium and hydrogen. It is through the study of atmospheric WD 1145+017 astronomers realized that they discovered a white dwarf acting a little unusual: the brightness of the stars was reduced to different values every 4.5 to 5 hours, and its atmosphere had traces of elements that are commonly found in the cores of rocky planets: iron, oxygen and magnesium.
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To find out how the planet met their demise, researchers have developed a series of computer simulations, which was shown as 36 different types of planets would react to the absorption of the native star. The results showed that rocky planets kept the main stage of destruction, but broke up for a short period of time. It is important to understand that all described the process lasted thousands of years. The reason around the white dwarf WD 1145+017 was not detected small objects, is that all the planets absorb the debris of a monstrous force of gravity. The remains of the planets lose mass and form – for this reason, the brightness of the star dims.
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Thus necromantically kills two birds with one stone – with its help, scientists can simultaneously examine the deaths of white dwarfs and planets, gradually restoring the chronology of events and how the evolution of stellar systems. So, just last year we opened more than 20 dying star systems, each with the remains of the dead planet store valuable information. This was possible as the scientists explain similar behavior of other stars, which in the past has caused heated arguments in the academic environment. It turned out, the stars were just dead, and the surrounding cosmic bodies formed by gravity, creating the effect of dimming the glow.
Studying the remains of the dead planet, the researchers are aware of their rate of destruction. In the future, the restoration of their former shape will allow you to simulate entire star systems, which were born of these distant worlds, as well as to look into the past of galaxies. In the end, a series of future discoveries will allow to better understand the structure of our Universe. By the way, despite its name, the area of necroplasma today is flourishing and it can not but rejoice.