Shower of carbon crumbs points to existence of puzzling exoplanet
SAN DIEGO — A remote planet — the first with hints of a limestone shell — has been shredded by its dead sun, a new study suggests.
A generous heaping of carbon is raining down on a white dwarf, the exposed core of a dead star, astrophysicist Carl Melis of the University of California, San Diego said June 13 at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society. The carbon — along with a dash of other elements such as calcium, silicon and iron — is probably all that remains of a rocky planet, torn apart by its dying sun’s gravity. Many other white dwarfs show similar signs of planetary cannibalism (SN Online: 10/21/15), but none are as flooded with carbon atoms as this one.