Hubble Space Telescope continuesdiscover interesting. A few days ago, he managed to capture the moment of the death of a star located more than 5,000 light-years from Earth in the constellation Korma, and yesterday astronomers using the same telescope were able to see how a white dwarf tore apart and absorbed a large comet, tens times the size of those that they observed in the solar system. Scientists published the results of the study in the Astrophysical Journal Letters.
When white dwarfs absorb somethe object, its elements are distributed on the surface in layers, so heavy elements gradually fall down, and, for example, gases like hydrogen or helium rise up. Because of this, heavy elements can be seen only at the moment a white dwarf absorbs a planet, an asteroid or comet. Si-Xu, an astronomer at the European Southern Observatory in Garching, located in Germany, using the Hubble telescope, discovered this “lunch” while studying the spectrum of the star WD 1425 + 540, located about 170 light-years from our planet.
We first saw traces of nitrogen in the spectrum of whitedwarf. Nitrogen is a very important element for us, one of the main building blocks of life on Earth. This white dwarf contains a very large amount of nitrogen, much more than we observed in any other object in the solar system, - quotes the words of the astronomer Sy-i Xu RIA Novosti.
The comet, which the white dwarf "feasted on",weighed about a hundred times more than Halley's comet. Having studied the phenomenon more closely, astronomers concluded that they were able to discover the first major comet that survived the death of a star.