In 2020, astronomers observed a red nova that, while extremely powerful, is located on the low side of energetic events in the universe. The astronomer has now studied the event in minute detail and has come to the conclusion that we have just witnessed a star destroy its own planet.
The technical term for these red supernova events are “intermediate-intensity optical transits,” or ILOTs. These are extremely rare events to note, as they only produce a moderate amount of energy. This makes it difficult for us to capture it in the notes. But despite the rarity of events, Astronomy scientists She suspects that they occur frequently throughout the universe.
For many years, astronomers wondered if this red nova was caused by this planets Soaked by the Mother Stars. Several ILOT candidates have been closely examined with this scenario in mind, but astronomers have found it difficult to match theoretical predictions of this scenario with actual observational results.
But this new Note, known as ZTF SLRN-2020, may be a perfect fit. Previous cases of suspected star-planet interactions occur in very young systems, with planets walking chaotic paths, colliding with each other, and sometimes diving upside down into their stars. But in this case the star is on the main sequence, which means it is an ordinary, middle-aged star. Research published on arXiv Prepress server.
the astronomer The study concludes with theoretical calculations that despite the planet’s approach to its star, it wasn’t just a matter of the planet slipping into the star’s atmosphere and describing it as a day. Instead, it went through several violent phases as the planet was torn apart and the red nova ignited.
As the planet approached the star, its temperature rose, and its outer layers turned into plasma. Complex flows of electricity and magnetism have caused this plasma to shoot a pair of jets away from the planet as it orbits the star. However, those jets weren’t strong enough to completely escape the star’s gravitational influence, and so this material rained down again.
But although the planet has regained some of its lost mass in the form of jets, the planet has been lost again to intense energies near the surface of the star. Before complete engulfment, the planet may have formed an accretion disk around the star itself. Material from the destroyed planet slowly seeped out and headed toward the star before it all finally came to an end. However, the accumulator disc It itself will be able to launch its own jets that can drift away from the star, expanding and nebula away from the system.
Needless to say, the interaction between the planet and the star over the course of its immersion released an incredible amount of energy resulting in the red color. nova. We still don’t know the details of the system or how this planet got so unlucky. Astronomers hope to find more of these transient, low-energy events to help us understand Complicated relationships between planets and their parent stars.
Noam Suker, on the nature of the planet-powered transit event ZTF SLRN-2020, arXiv (2023). doi: 10.48550/arxiv.2305.04909
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