It is always fascinating to learn about the latest discoveries within the realm of astronomy! I feel the need to recognize that there is so much wonder out beyond what can be readily seen, and beyond what is known at all, that any new finds always are exciting. This latest observation is no exception!
Alex Wolszczan, a reknowned Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics at Penn State University, has been the leader of an astronomical team of scientists who have been observing the wonders of the universe. Their latest find has captured attention because of it’s currently significant actions. A star is being observed, going into an eating binge, as it enters the processes of it’s final stages of life!
The star BD+48 740 has entered it’s red giant phase. This star is located roughly 2,398 light years away. It is a star that is older than our Sun, eleven time larger than The Sun, and it is situated within distant regions of our Milky Way. BD+48 740 is capturing attention because it could explode at any moment, and due to the elevated level of a particular element that has been observed within it.
BD+48 740 contains lithium. This basic element is believed to have been created initially during The Big Bang. Lithium is believed to be destroyed by stars with ease. It’s elevated presence within BD+48 740 was unusual, indicating that the star may have recently absorbed a large object containing the element. The fact that lithium is there indicates that something with a large amount of the element was nearby, and it was recently consumed by BD+48 740.
Yes, this star seems to have absorbed something containing excess levels of lithium during it’s red giant expansion. Astronomical studies indeed are indicating that BD+48 740 dissolved a planet that was within it’s range of transition to red giant stage. As with all stars expanding into giants during their final stages of life, BD+48 740 acted as normal in the absorption of any planets within orbits that were too close!
At least one planet remains in orbit of BD+48 740. It is estimated to be roughly 1.6 times the size of Jupiter. This planet likely will survive the death of it’s host star, leaving it as a rouge planet. There is some speculation that the star already consumed a planet within an orbit that was too close!
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