Pages Navigation Menu

A disintegrating minor planet transiting a white dwarf

A disintegrating minor planet transiting a white dwarf

Astronomers have discovered evidence for a rocky planet being destroyed and material from the planet being accreted onto a white dwarf.  The object was identified using data from NASA’s K2 mission and characterized using multiple ground-based observatories, including MINERVA.

See links below to read more about a recent discovery based by a team of scientists, including Penn State Professor Jason Wright.

Press release from Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

Scientific paper

Image Caption:  In this artist’s conception, a Ceres-like asteroid is slowly disintegrating as it orbits a white dwarf star. Astronomers have spotted telltales signs of such an object using data from the Kepler K2 mission. It is the first planetary object detected transiting a white dwarf. Within about a million years the object will be destroyed, leaving a thin dusting of metals on the surface of the white dwarf.  Mark A. Garlick /

Leave a Comment

Skip to toolbar