We know that space exists full of mystery. Adding to the intrigue, astronomers have recently discovered an ancient solar system very different from our cosmic home.
About 90 light-years away, researchers have discovered a white dwarf star, the remnant hot core of a dead star, more than 10 billion years old. they are – which is surrounded by a graveyard of fragmented planetary fragments called planetesimals. A faint star has captured the debris of these objects. But this solar system is unlike anything else around us. It is full of elements like lithium and potassium. Most importantly, there are no planets our solar system has such a composition.
Why was this ancient solar system in our early days? Milky way galaxy are they different? How did he get rich with these rare materials at that time?
“It’s a complete mystery,” University of Warwick PhD student Abbigail Elms, who studies white dwarfs, told Mashable. There was an investigation was published this week in a science journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.
As mentioned above, this is the solar system old This means that the white dwarf (called WDJ2147-4035) and the surrounding solar system formed and died before the Sun and Earth were born. In fact, WDJ2147-4035 is the fragments of former planets around it Around the white dwarf are the oldest planetesimals found in our galaxy, Elms noted.
How do astronomers know what this archaic solar system is made of?
They discovered this white dwarf and another dwarf of the same age An observatory called Gaia in space. As it orbits the Sun, this distant spacecraft maps the stars and galaxies in space. After seeing these white dwarfs, researchers turned to the X-Shooter, an instrument high up in Chile (an X-Shooter is a type of very valuable astronomical instrument called a “spectrometer”), to find out what is in the stars’ atmospheres. In WDJ2147-4035, they found that chemicals such as lithium, potassium, and sodium were accumulating, or being pulled around by gravity, around the ancient star. White dwarfs are made of hydrogen or helium, so the rocky remains of the planets were responsible for providing other unique elements, the researchers concluded (by running simulations of the evolution of this solar system).
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Artist’s impression of planetary fragments (planetimals) orbiting white dwarf stars.
Credit: University of Warwick / Mark Garlick
Interestingly, the other white dwarf they discovered (WDJ1922+0233) was significantly different from the mysterious one. It is more familiar. They determined that this star had attracted planetary debris similar to Earth’s rocky crust. So while one solar system remains an anomaly, another shows that Earth isn’t so unique in space: There are others. solar systems I kinda like it there.
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But these two solar systems are full of graveyards of past planets. More than 95 percent of Sun-like stars become white dwarfs. Near the end of their lives, they transform into giant red giants, destroying or corrupting nearby objects. As our Sun expands, it will swallow up planets like Mercury, Venus, and perhaps even before Earth sheds its outer layers. Red giants will leave behind remnants of shattered planets and moons. The remaining star itself will be a white dwarf.
This is our cosmic destiny. Just not for a long, long, long time.
“Our Sun will become a white dwarf in about 5 billion years” Elms said.
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