Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. 24/7 Space News .




Subscribe to our free daily newsletters



EXO WORLDS
Evidence of Star Wars-like Planetary System
by Staff Writers
Sheffield UK (SPX) Feb 27, 2017


Lead author of the study, Dr. Jay Farihi from UCL's Department of Physics and Astronomy, said: "With the discovery of asteroid debris in the SDSS 1557 system, we see clear signatures of rocky planet assembly via large asteroids that formed, helping us understand how rocky exoplanets are made in double star systems." (illustration only)

Evidence of planetary debris surrounding a double sun in a Star Wars-like system has been found by a team of researchers including scientists from the University of Sheffield.

The study, published in the journal Nature Astronomy, has found the remains of shattered asteroids orbiting a double sun consisting of a white dwarf star and a brown dwarf star roughly 1,000 light-years away in a system called SDSS 1557.

The debris appears to be rocky and suggesting that terrestrial planets, such as Tatooine, the home planet of Luke Skywalker in the film series Star Wars, might exist in the system.

To date, all exoplanets discovered in orbit around double stars are gas giants, similar to Jupiter, and are thought to form in the icy regions of their systems.

In contrast to the carbon-rich icy material found in other double star systems, the planetary material identified in the SDSS 1557 system has a high metal content, including silicon and magnesium.

These elements were identified as the debris flowed from its orbit onto the surface of the star, polluting it temporarily with at least 10^17 g (or 1.1 trillion US tons) of matter, equating it to an asteroid at least 4 km in size.

The discovery came as a complete surprise, as the team assumed the dusty white dwarf was a single star, but co-author Dr. Steven Parsons from the University of Sheffield, who is an expert in double star (or binary) systems and co-author of the study, noticed the telltale signs.

"We know of thousands of binaries similar to SDSS 1557 but this is the first time we've seen asteroid debris and pollution.

"The brown dwarf was effectively hidden by the dust until we looked with the right instrument but when we observed SDSS 1557 in detail we recognised the brown dwarf's subtle gravitational pull on the white dwarf."

Lead author of the study, Dr. Jay Farihi from UCL's Department of Physics and Astronomy, said: "With the discovery of asteroid debris in the SDSS 1557 system, we see clear signatures of rocky planet assembly via large asteroids that formed, helping us understand how rocky exoplanets are made in double star systems."

In the solar system, the asteroid belt contains the leftover building blocks for the terrestrial planets Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars, so planetary scientists study the asteroids to gain a better understanding of how rocky, and potentially habitable planets are formed. The same approach was used by the team to study the SDSS 1557 system as any planets within it cannot yet be detected directly, but the debris is spread in a large belt around the double stars, which is a much larger target for analysis.

The team studied the binary system and the chemical composition of the debris by measuring the absorption of different wavelengths of light or 'spectra,' using the Gemini Observatory South telescope and the European Southern Observatory Very Large Telescope, both located in Chile.

Co-author Professor Boris Gansicke from the University of Warwick analysed these data and found they all told a consistent and compelling story. "Any metals we see in the white dwarf will disappear within a few weeks, and sink down into the interior, unless the debris is continuously flowing onto the star.

"We'll be looking at SDSS 1557 next with Hubble, to conclusively show the dust is made of rock rather than ice."

EXO WORLDS
Prediction: More gas-giants will be found orbiting Sun-like stars
Washington DC (SPX) Feb 22, 2017
New planetary formation models from Carnegie's Alan Boss indicate that there may be an undiscovered population of gas giant planets orbiting around Sun-like stars at distances similar to those of Jupiter and Saturn. His work is published by The Astrophysical Journal. The population of exoplanets discovered by ongoing planet-hunting projects continues to increase. These discoveries can improve mo ... read more

Related Links
University Of Sheffield
Lands Beyond Beyond - extra solar planets - news and science
Life Beyond Earth


Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once


credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly


paypal only

Comment on this article using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

EXO WORLDS
India has capability to develop space station, says top official

Orion spacecraft achieves key safety milestone

Marshall shakes, packs, ships and tracks NASA payloads

NASA and SpaceX gives ASU a competitive edge in technological innovation

EXO WORLDS
Elon Musk: tech dreamer reaching for sun, moon and stars

SpaceX says it will fly civilians to the moon next year

ULA launches NROL-79 payload for NRO

Moon tourists risk rough ride, experts say

EXO WORLDS
Martian Winds Carve Mountains, Move Dust, Raise Dust

NASA Orbiter Steers Clear of Mars Moon Phobos

Science checkout continues for ExoMars orbiter

Remnants of a mega-flood on Mars

EXO WORLDS
China to launch space station core module in 2018

Thinking Big: China Hopes to Conduct 2nd Mission to Mars by 2030

China to Conduct Test Flight of CZ-8 Carrier Rocket by 2018

China to launch first high-throughput communications satellite in April

EXO WORLDS
Turkey Moves Closer to Launching Own Space Agency

OneWeb, Intelsat merge to advance satellite internet

GomSpace to supply satellites for Sky and Space Global constellation

Kacific places order with Boeing for a high throughput satellite

EXO WORLDS
NYU researchers coax colloidal spheres to self-assemble into photonic crystals

Sustainable ceramics without a kiln

Scientists demonstrate improved particle warning to protect astronauts

When Rocket Science Meets X-ray Science

EXO WORLDS
Volcanic hydrogen spurs chances of finding exoplanet life

Evidence of Star Wars-like Planetary System

The missing link in how planets form

Hunting for giant planet analogs in our own backyard

EXO WORLDS
Juno to remain in current orbit at Jupiter

Europa Flyby Mission Moves into Design Phase

NASA receives science report on Europa lander concept

New Horizons Refines Course for Next Flyby




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News






The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement