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Destruction of 'earth-like' exoplanets... Stunning views!

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posted on May, 3 2012 @ 02:42 PM
Four white dwarf stars caught in the act of consuming ‘earth-like’ exoplanets

Take a look at the four artist views as they are really breathtaking and realistic, especially in hi-resolution (click 'source' after each of them)

Direct source to the hi-res
The three steps leading up to the destruction of the exoplanets

Direct source to the hi-res
The inner region of an exo-planetary system where four terrestrial planets orbit a solar-like star.

Direct source to the hi-res
The host star is running out of hydrogen in the core, swells up, and its surface becomes cooler. It is also losing mass, which causes the planets to move further out. The perturbation of the orbits may lead to collisions that will generate large amounts of rocky debris.

Direct source to the hi-res
This depicts what the researchers are now observing. A white dwarf sits in the centre of the remnant of a planetary system. Asteroid sized debris is scattered inwards by interaction with the remaining planets and is tidally disrupted as it approaches the white dwarf forming a disc of dust some of which is raining down onto the star. The researchers have found that the composition of the debris that has just fallen onto the four white dwarfs matches the composition of Earth-like rocky worlds.

University of Warwick astrophysicists have pinpointed four white dwarfs surrounded by dust from shattered planetary bodies which once bore striking similarities to the composition of the Earth.

Using the Hubble Space Telescope for the biggest survey to date of the chemical composition of the atmospheres of white dwarf stars, the researchers found that the most frequently occurring elements in the dust around these four white dwarfs were oxygen, magnesium, iron and silicon – the four elements that make up roughly 93 per cent of the Earth.

However an even more significant observation was that this material also contained an extremely low proportion of carbon, which matched very closely that of the Earth and the other rocky planets orbiting closest to our own Sun.

This is the first time that such low proportions of carbon have been measured in the atmospheres of white dwarf stars polluted by debris. Not only is this clear evidence that these stars once had at least one rocky exoplanet which they have now destroyed, the observations must also pinpoint the last phase of the death of these worlds.

Read the whole paper at the sources here:
- Warwick
- AlphaGalileo Fundation
All images © Mark A. Garlick / / University of Warwick
edit on 3-5-2012 by elevenaugust because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 3 2012 @ 03:05 PM
Great images OP, and also something to consider, when our beautiful star dies we will be in along for the ride.

It does not even have to die, if a direct hit form a solar ejecta hits us, there wont be much for anyone to do, mortality is the only truth, everything must go eventually, we are so puny, and our worldview so limited, that cosmic times eludes us, we believe ourselves and our tiny actions to be eternal, we believe we have all the time in the world, that not much of the things we do has any meaning or purpose, and yet, in space, where "true reality" exists as a whole that defies comprehension, things are happening all the time, while we drown in our proverbial glasses of water.

Will we turn our ways for the "better" when our star decides its time to go super nova?
Will there even be anyone here when that time comes?

Time will tell, great pics OP!

posted on May, 3 2012 @ 05:58 PM
reply to post by elevenaugust

One of the cool things about some white dwarfs that have pretty much become a ball of crystallized carbon is that crystalized carbon = sun-sized diamond.

Sad that Earth like planets are giving up the ghost. With hope, if there was anyone living there, they had plenty time to get gone somewhere else.
Maybe they come here?

posted on May, 4 2012 @ 01:08 AM
reply to post by Druscilla

Great questions!
would the hypothetical inhabitants of said exoplanets could have done anything to prevent their fiery doom?
I don't thinks so, better yet, if the development of any living species on that planet had not developed conscience or an awareness level similar to ours to realize that their time had come, or even better, if they were conscious enough to realize it but unable to do anything about it, who shed tears for them?

Who became saddened at the loss of irreplaceable life?
Who made a mass media campaign on the extinction of the six legged nenogleodon, that will never ever be seen elsewhere?

Life is precious, up to a certain point, as there are forces out there beyond words, beyond humanity, that will eventually silence our voices, humanity is special, as is the polar bear or the tigers in India, we make a fuss about saving species on the verge of extinction, while we make wars and disease a way of living, life is special and unique, like a snowflake, but once it melts not even its memory remains.

The same will happen to us, on a cosmic scale no one will even notice just we barely notice whole planets vanished forever, make very second count, life is too short, all life, cherish it as a beautiful ice sculpture, or a diamond the size of a planet, its what we do with our time, not the fact we are here that counts.

The only thing certain in this world is that everything eventually will have to go, and that empowers as we realize we have wasted so much time doing nothing but bicker and fight and pollute, but there is hope, fiery justice will prevail, not today, not tomorrow, (I hope) but the time will come...


edit on 4-5-2012 by TheOneEyedProphet because: (no reason given)

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