Friday, February 19, 2016

Evidence of gas From Disintegrating Extrasolar Asteroid Around WD 1145+017

Evidence for Gas from a Disintegrating Extrasolar Asteroid


Xu et al


We report high-resolution spectroscopic observations of WD 1145+017 -- a white dwarf that recently has been found to be transitted by multiple asteroid-sized objects within its tidal radius. We have discovered numerous circumstellar absorption lines with linewidths of ∼ 300 km s−1 from Mg, Ca, Ti, Cr, Mn, Fe and Ni, possibly from several gas streams produced by collisions among the actively disintegrating objects. The atmosphere of WD 1145+017 is polluted with 11 heavy elements, including O, Mg, Al, Si, Ca, Ti, V:, Cr, Mn, Fe and Ni. Evidently, we are witnessing the active disintegration and subsequent accretion of an extrasolar asteroid.

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