More than 4,000 exoplanets have been discovered by now, but the question is what happens when these collide.
Fox News reveals that there’s a brand new study that’s been published, and it looks at a star system called BD + 20 307 that is located more than 300 light-years from Earth.
This system may reportedly hold evidence of two exoplanets recently colliding.
Astronomers have studied data from NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, which “revealed the infrared brightness from the debris has increased by more than 10 [percent] — a sign that there is now even more warm dust,” said an official statement, revealing the discovery.
It’s been reported that dust and debris have been seen by the observatories on the ground and also by the Spitzer Space Telescope about ten years ago.
A glimpse into an impact between exoplanets
“The warm dust around BD +20 307 gives us a glimpse into what catastrophic impacts between rocky exoplanets might be like,” according to the study’s lead author, Maggie Thompson, as cited by the Fox News website.
She continued and explained that “We want to know how this system subsequently evolves after the extreme impact.”
“Because of its extreme dustiness and small radius, the disk of BD +20 307 has a short predicted collision time and is, therefore, an interesting target in which to look for changes in dust quantity and composition over time,” according to the study’s abstract.
A catastrophic collision
The notes also added the fact that a “catastrophic collision between planetary-scale bodies is still the most likely origin for the system’s extreme dust.”
It’s been also reported that the new research has been published in The Astrophysical Journal. We recommend that you head over to the original source and check out all the availabe details if you’re interested.
Experts say that this is a pretty rare opportunity to study such a catastrophic collision that occurs late in the planetary system’s history.