Scientists just witnessed dead stars munching on remains of planets

Edited By: Bharat Sharma WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Published: Jan 13, 2021, 06.00 PM(IST)

This illustration released on May 9, 2013 by the NASA/ESA/STSCI is an artist's impression of the thin, rocky debris disc discovered around the two Hyades white dwarfs Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

Scientists recently witnessed four distant white dwarfs consuming the crust of dead planets

Scientists recently witnessed four distant white dwarfs consuming the crust of dead planets.

Most stars, after completing their life cycle simply become white dwarfs, which refers to the core of what once used to be a star. Astronomers claim that the core material is the key ingredient in all living forms.

This core contains carbon atoms, which are the key components of every living form. 90 per cent of all-stars in the universe turn into white dwarfs after finishing their life-cycle.

Mark Hollands from the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom, along with his colleagues witnessed white dwarfs munching on what resembled remains of dead planets. They found that the material which was being consumed by white dwarfs resembled Earth's crust.

This could further help shed light on the creation of planets, and the processes involved in the creation of such planets across our galaxy, and the universe.

Also read: A massive star in a far-off galaxy just disappeared, leaving behind no trace!

The dwarfs have a very high temperature, running as high as 99,000 degree Celsius. Over billions of years, the stars cool down and become dimmer, until only the core remains. The other remains that are shed off by these bodies contain carbon, which is the fourth-most found chemical in the universe. No life can function without carbon! All of the carbon in the universe is released by stars.

Also read: A blazing fireball produced a sonic boom in Tokyo skies, leaving residents confused!

In a different study, scientists observed stars in the Milky Way, and analysed the data of a star before they became dwarfs and in the aftermath. The bigger the star, the bigger its dwarf, ie, the core! However, scientists realised the mass of the core was much bigger than previously thought.

Based on the study, the astronomers ascertained that stars bigger than 2 solar masses contributed in the universal dissemination of carbon, while stars smaller than 1.5 solar masses did not.

Their study points to a basic and imperative conclusion, that carbon has been trapped in the universe for more than 4.6 billion years, when our Solar System was formed.

Read in App