An international team of astronomers has observed for the first time a thermal afterglow after the collision of two icy exoplanets. The cloud formed as a result of the cataclysm led to a change in the brightness of the star.
The described events occurred in the vicinity of the sun-like star ASASSN-21qj. It is located at a distance of 1800 light-years from Earth. A few years ago, it began to fade in the visible range, which attracted the attention of researchers. Then the scientists drew attention to a message left on social networks by an amateur astronomer. He pointed out that a thousand days before the optical fading, ASASSN-21qj became twice as bright in the infrared range.
Further astronomers managed to understand the causes of these strange events. They concluded that the most likely explanation was the collision of two giant icy planets. It led to the formation of an expanding debris cloud, which initially increased the infrared brightness of the system. After about three years, this cloud shifted to a point located between the star and the Earth, which led to a decrease in its brightness in the visible range.
These conclusions are consistent with the results of computer modeling. It showed that the collision occurred at a distance of 2 to 16 au from the star and two bodies with a mass of several tens of terrestrial ones participated in it. It showed that the collision occurred at a distance of 2 to 16 au from the star, and two bodies with masses of several tens of terrestrial ones participated in it.
The collision led to the merger of two exoplanets into a single object. Apparently, a large amount of water vapor was released during it, which contributed to the cooling of the newborn planet to a temperature of 730 °C. In the future, the remnants of matter around this body can condense into a whole retinue of moons. As for the dust cloud, it will gradually dissipate along the orbit. This will allow us to study the consequences of the collision using telescopes.
Earlier we talked about how the world’s largest radio telescope scanned Barnard’s star for the presence of intelligent life.
According to https://phys.org
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