Study reveals that even dying stars can give birth to brand new planets

Baku, February 9, AZERTAC

A new study has revealed that even dying stars can give birth to brand new planets.
Known as "A population of transition disks around evolved stars: Fingerprints of planets," the study has been published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.
It claims that the second generation of planets can be formed by a disk of leftover material from dying stars that surround them.
"In ten percent of the evolved binary stars with discs we studied, we see a large cavity in the disc," said first author Kluska in a press release.
"This is an indication that something is floating around there that has collected all matter in the area of the cavity."
This first generation of stars apparently lived hard and died quickly. While our sun may live 5 billion years, this first generation of stars likely lasted only a slim fraction of that -- about 1 million years.
Understanding what happens inside a star is important because the core normally acts as a powerful nuclear furnace producing heat and pressure that makes the star shine and remain stable for a long time, the researchers said.
When the cores of these big stars run out of fuel, they collapse and spark a shock wave that travels to the surface at 20 million miles per hour to create a fireball one billion times brighter than the sun.
Supernovae are hurtling fields of heavy material that spew nickel, gold and iron, so understanding more about them can also provide insight into the formation of Earth, they added.
The Earth’s sun is smaller so when it reaches the end of its life in about 4 billion years it will bloat and then shed its outer layers, leaving the remains to cool over a long period of time.
"In the evolved binary stars with a large cavity in the disc, we saw that heavy elements such as iron were very scarce on the surface of the dying star," said Kluska.
"This observation leads one to suspect that dust particles rich in these elements were trapped by a planet."
"The confirmation or refutation of this extraordinary way of planet formation will be an unprecedented test for the current theories," according to Professor Hans Van Winckel, head of the KU Leuven Institute of Astronomy.
Until now, scientists have only been able to observe the afterglow of such bursts that light up galaxies without knowing which star actually exploded.
This study argues that protoplanetary disks are ideal for studying planet formation scenarios in unprecedented parameter space.


Science and education 2022-02-09 16:50:00