Photo: Ivan Alvarado / Reuters
An international team of astronomers studied the unusual white dwarf WD 1145+017, which changes its brightness. The researchers found that around stars revolve multiple objects that may be fragments of comets or heterogeneous rocky debris in the composition of the dust cloud, but the exact nature remains unknown. About it reported in a press release on Phys.org.
WD 1145+017 removed from the Earth at 570 light years. It is 50 times less than the Sun, and the mass reaches of 0.63 solar masses. In 2015, scientists found that the brightness of the object periodically crashes due to passing on the background of rocky bodies every 4.5 hours. Subsequent observations showed that these bodies are likely to split asteroids.
In the new work, the researchers conducted spectrophotometric and broadband photometric observations of the white dwarf using two telescopes Gran Telescopio Canarias and the Liverpool Telescope. It turned out that the fragments are arranged in a chain, and most of them leave the tails like a comet. Scientists believe that the gravitational forces of the dwarf tore a large comet, similar to comet the shoemaker-levy 9, which broke into fragments and crashed into Jupiter.
It is also possible that the sites represent a cluster of inhomogeneous waste density. As the scientists write, the longest transit (passage), and the strong shading correspond to several overlapping clouds of dust.
Video, photo All from Russia.