Limestone world gobbled by planet-eating white dwarf | Science News

ADVERTISEMENT

MISSION CRITICAL

Support credible science journalism.

Subscribe to Science News today.


News in Brief

Limestone world gobbled by planet-eating white dwarf

Shower of carbon crumbs points to existence of puzzling exoplanet

By
4:30pm, June 14, 2016
White Cliffs of Dover

An exoplanet torn apart by its dead sun might have been slathered in calcium carbonate, a mineral also found in the White Cliffs of Dover (pictured).

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.  

This article is available only to subscribing members. Join the Society today or Log in.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from this issue of Science News