Astronomy:Disrupted planet

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Short description: Planet or related being destroyed by a passing object
Artist concept of a rocky planetary object being vaporized by its parent star

In astronomy, a disrupted planet[1][2] is a planet or exoplanet or, perhaps on a somewhat smaller scale, a planetary-mass object, planetesimal, moon, exomoon or asteroid that has been disrupted or destroyed by a nearby or passing astronomical body or object such as a star.[1][2] Necroplanetology is the related study of such a process.[3][4] Nonetheless, the result of such a disruption may be the production of excessive amounts of related gas, dust and debris,[5] which may eventually surround the parent star in the form of a circumstellar disk or debris disk. As a consequence, the orbiting debris field may be an "uneven ring of dust", causing erratic light fluctuations in the apparent luminosity of the parent star, as may have been responsible for the oddly flickering light curves associated with the starlight observed from certain variable stars, such as that from Tabby's Star (KIC 8462852), RZ Piscium and WD 1145+017.[3][4] Excessive amounts of infrared radiation may be detected from such stars,[6] suggestive evidence in itself that dust and debris may be orbiting the stars.[5][7][8][9]



Examples of planets, or their related remnants, considered to have been a disrupted planet, or part of such a planet, include: 'Oumuamua[10] and WD 1145+017 b, as well as asteroids,[11] hot Jupiters[12] and those that are hypothetical planets, like Fifth planet, Phaeton, Planet V and Theia.


Examples of parent stars considered to have disrupted a planet include: EPIC 204278916, Tabby's Star (KIC 8462852), PDS 110, RZ Piscium, WD 1145+017 and 47 Ursae Majoris.

Artist concept of an "uneven ring of dust" surrounding Tabby's Star

Tabby's Star light curve

Tabby's Star (KIC 8462852) is an F-type main-sequence star exhibiting unusual light fluctuations, including up to a 22% dimming in brightness.[13] Several hypotheses have been proposed to explain these irregular changes, but none to date fully explain all aspects of the curve. One explanation is that an "uneven ring of dust" orbits Tabby's Star.[14][15] However, in September 2019, astronomers reported that the observed dimmings of Tabby's Star may have been produced by fragments resulting from the disruption of an orphaned exomoon.[16][17]

Consolidated plot of all known dimmings (as of 1 March 2020)

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 Staff (22 December 2017). "Young Star RZ Piscium is 'Eating' Its Own Planets, Astronomers Say". 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Fryling, Kevin (21 December 2017). "IU astronomer's analysis helps discover that a star in the constellation Pisces is a 'planet-eater'". Indiana University. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Starr, Michelle (28 March 2020). "Necroplanetology: The Strangest Field of Astronomy You've Never Heard Of". 
  4. 4.0 4.1 Duvvuri, Girish M.; Redfield, Seth; Veras, Dimitri (18 March 2020). "Necroplanetology: Simulating the Tidal Disruption of Differentiated Planetary Material Orbiting WD 1145+017". The Astrophysical Journal 893 (2): 166. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/ab7fa0. Bibcode2020ApJ...893..166D. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 Punzi, K. M.; Kastner, J. H.; Melis, C.; Zuckerman, B.; Pilachowski, C.; Gingerich, L.; Knapp, T. (21 December 2017). "Is the Young Star RZ Piscium Consuming Its Own (Planetary) Offspring?". The Astronomical Journal 155 (1): 33. doi:10.3847/1538-3881/aa9524. Bibcode2018AJ....155...33P. 
  6. Farihi, J.; Jura, M.; Zuckerman, B. (10 March 2009). "Infrared Signatures of Disrupted Minor Planets at White Dwarfs". The Astrophysical Journal 694 (2): 805–819. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/694/2/805. Bibcode2009ApJ...694..805F. 
  7. Landau, Elizabeth (4 October 2017). "Mysterious Dimming of Tabby's Star May Be Caused by Dust". NASA. 
  8. Meng, Huan Y.A. (3 October 2017). "Extinction and the Dimming of KIC 8462852". The Astrophysical Journal 847 (2): 131. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/aa899c. Bibcode2017ApJ...847..131M. 
  9. Tabor, Abby (5 October 2017). "The scientific quest to explain Kepler's most enigmatic find". 
  10. Ćuk, Matija (2017). "1I/ʻOumuamua as a Tidal Disruption Fragment From a Binary Star System". The Astrophysical Journal 852 (1): L15. doi:10.3847/2041-8213/aaa3db. Bibcode2018ApJ...852L..15C. 
  11. Soter, Steven (2006). "What is a Planet?". The Astronomical Journal 132 (6): 2513–2519. doi:10.1086/508861. Bibcode2006AJ....132.2513S. 
  12. Nayakshin, Sergei (20 September 2011). "Hot Super Earths: disrupted young jupiters?". Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 416 (4): 2974–2980. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2966.2011.19246.x. Bibcode2011MNRAS.416.2974N. Retrieved 25 December 2017. 
  13. Boyajian, T. S.; LaCourse, D. M.; Rappaport, S. A.; Fabrycky, D.; Fischer, D. A.; Gandolfi, D.; Kennedy, G. M.; Korhonen, H. et al. (2016-01-27). "Planet Hunters IX. KIC 8462852 – where's the flux?" (in en). Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 457 (4): 3988–4004. doi:10.1093/mnras/stw218. ISSN 0035-8711. Bibcode2016MNRAS.457.3988B. 
  14. "Mysterious Dimming of Tabby's Star May Be Caused by Dust". 
  15. Boyajian, Tabetha S.; Alonso, Roi; Ammerman, Alex; Armstrong, David; Ramos, A. Asensio; Barkaoui, K.; Beatty, Thomas G.; Benkhaldoun, Z. et al. (2018-01-19). "The First Post-Kepler Brightness Dips of KIC 8462852". The Astrophysical Journal 853 (1): L8. doi:10.3847/2041-8213/aaa405. ISSN 2041-8213. Bibcode2018ApJ...853L...8B. 
  16. Columbia University (16 September 2019). "New observations help explain the dimming of Tabby's Star". 
  17. Marinez, Miquel; Stone, Nicholas C.; Metzger, Brian D. (5 September 2019). "Orphaned Exomoons: Tidal Detachment and Evaporation Following an Exoplanet-Star Collision". Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 489 (4): 5119–5135. doi:10.1093/mnras/stz2464. Bibcode2019MNRAS.489.5119M. 
  18. Gary, Bruce L. (14 November 2017). "Hereford Arizona Observatory photometry observations of KIC 8462852". 
  19. Gary, Bruce L. (4 October 2017). "Hereford Arizona Observatory photometry observations of KIC 8462852 between 2 May and 4 October 2017". "Note: g'-band and r'-band dip depths (and shapes) may differ, with g'-band being more sensitive to dust cloud scattering due to its shorter wavelength (0.47 vs. 0.62 micron). For a reasonable particle size distribution (e.g., Hanson, 0.2 micron) the extinction cross section ratio would produce a depth at r'-band that is 0.57 x depth at g'-band. If g'-band depth is 0.3 %, for example, depth at r'-band could be 0.17 %. The "Tabby Team" measurements (Fig. 3) at r'-band are compatible with that small dip depth. Incidentally, none of these shapes resemble exo-comet tail transits (as described by Rappaport et al, 2017 link); so the mystery of what's producing these week-timescale dips continues! Actually, long oval shapes are known to produce V-shaped dips (think of rings with a high inclination)." 
  20. Gary, Bruce L. (1 January 2018). "Hereford Arizona Observatory photometry observations of KIC 8462852 between 2 May and 31 December 2017". 
  21. Gary, Bruce L. (4 May 2018). "Hereford Arizona Observatory photometry observations of KIC 8462852 between 2 May 2017 and 4 May 2018". 
  22. Gary, Bruce (11 January 2020). "KIC 8462852 Hereford Arizona Observatory Photometry Observations #9". 

Further reading

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