A group of English astronomers (from the University of Warwick in the UK) and American astronomers (from the University of Colorado, Boulder, Wesleyan University) studying dying stars call their field of study necro-planetology. Necro is a Greek prefix for death.
Back in 2015, white dwarf WD 1145+017 started to act bizarre, dimming one every 5 hours. So, the scientists concluded it might be due to tidal disruption. Necro-planetology is using WD 1145+017’s death to prove it is a valid concept.
WD 1145+017 is called a white dwarf because is in its final evolutionary state. It is dying. And because it iv very dense about 10 solar masses. It is giving its lasts breath 570 light-years away from us, in the Virgo constellation. To be precise, this last breath stared 175 million years ago. But if it is indeed in a tidal disruption process, then it might actually be dying.
Necroplanetology Could Reveal More Secrets Of The Space
The tidal disruption event is a planet’s spaghettification. That’s a scientific word, even if it doesn’t seem possible. And it means exactly what it says. Remember the scene in Lady and the Trump, when Lady and the Trump eat spaghetti? Sorry, when they slurp spaghetti and end up kissing?
It’s the same in space when a blackhole slurps a star. Or when a dying white dwarf such as WD 1145+017 is slurping the surrounding planets’ mantles. It’s like a death kiss. The necro-planetology scientists made some simulations that revealed this disruptive behavior is what caused the unusual dimming.
WD 1145+017 is not a very nice star. It’s like a mean moribund clinging on healthy people that stood with them through the entire process. And it looks like it isn’t a singular case. KIC 8462852, AKA Tabby’s star, ZTF J0139+5245, and WD J0914+1914 were also doing it.
But necro-planetology scientists seem to be quite excited about these findings. “This multi-pronged approach would use the death of these planetary systems in action to study fundamental properties of exoplanetary bodies that are otherwise inaccessible: a study in necro-planetology,” they say.