White dwarfs are the husks of stars similar to our own sun. Scientists has long seen signs that even after death, white dwarfs have town apart planets. Now they have possibly observed this destruction. Here’s more from MOTHERBOARD:
Now, astronomers led by Tim Cunningham, a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Warwick, have at last snagged this elusive observation, leading to “the only direct measurement of the instantaneous accretion rate of any white dwarf accreting planetary debris,” according to a study published Wednesday in Nature. In other words: The team clocked the rate at which a white dwarf gulped down some planet dust.
“This is the first time that we’ve actually detected the moment that the material hits the surface” of a white dwarf, said Cunningham in a call. “It’s the smoking gun of evidence that says: ‘Okay, we’ve got the disk. We’ve got the metals in the atmosphere. And now we’ve seen the moment that the material moves from the disk to the atmosphere of the star.’”
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