May 18, 2024

A brutal scenario in the universe – “Astronomers previously thought this was not possible”

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Artist's impression: A twin star engulfs a planet. © German Press Agency/©openverse

In fact, the twin stars have identical chemical compositions. Research has wild doubts about couples who deviate.

MELBOURNE – At least one in every 12 stars has swallowed planets during its lifetime. This is what a new study has shown In the specialized magazine nature published had become. To reach this conclusion, a research team led by Fan Liu of Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, examined stellar twins. “We looked at twin stars traveling together. They originated from the same molecular clouds and therefore must be identical,” the researcher said in one of them. notice. However, the research team found twin aberrations in about eight percent of cases.

“Thanks to high-resolution analyses, we can detect chemical differences between the twins,” Liu asserts, stressing: “This is very strong evidence that one of the stars has swallowed planets or planetary materials and changed their composition.”

Revealed by the stars of Gemini: Each of the twelve stars has swallowed the planets

In total, the research team examined 91 pairs of twins. These are main sequence stars that are in the middle of their lives, not red giant stars like Betelgeuse, which are in the final stages of their lives. Because red giants swell and can swallow nearby planets. The Sun will also do so in the distant future and will engulf the Earth and other planets in the process.

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It is not entirely clear whether stars, unlike their twins, swallowed entire planets or just devoured some planetary material. “It's complicated. The whole-planet picture is our preferred scenario, but of course we can't rule out that these stars have absorbed a lot of material from a protoplanetary disk,” Liu explains. “Protoplanetary disks surround stars after they form. Over time, they form The planets thereof.

A “new window” for planetary evolution theorists

Co-author Yuan Sen Ting from the Australian National University added: “Astronomers previously thought that this kind of event was not possible. But from the observations in our study, we can see that although the frequency is not high, it is still possible. This opens up A new window for planetary evolution theorists. (unpaid bill)