• Wed. Nov 30th, 2022

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Planets around graveyard star were consumed before Earth was even born

A strangely cool star that has been dead for more than 10 billion years contains levels of some elements that indicate it ate its own planets

Space 5 November 2022

A white dwarf star accreting debris

White dwarfs (blue-white) are very cool for stars

Mark A. Garlick

A strangely cool star absorbed its planets billions of years before Earth even existed.

Last year, astronomers spotted a white dwarf star about 90 light years from us. White dwarfs are the remnants of dead stars that have ceased to carry out nuclear fusion, but this one, WD J2147-4035, appeared to be much cooler than most white dwarfs. Its relatively cold temperature indicated that it was about 10 billion years old – much older than other stars in its galactic neighbourhood.

Now, Abbigail Elms …