NASA’s Hubble telescope is once again under the spotlight by uncovering info about the “zombie star” known as G238-44. It’s a white dwarf that likes to chow down on its surroundings. The celestial object is devouring solid material from vast portions of its own system.
The news is provided by Space.com, and it makes astronomers question even more about planetary systems. To come to their discovery, astronomers had also been using data gathered by other observatories besides the Hubble Telescope that’s operated by NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA).
Is water common in the outskirts of planetary systems?
The white dwarf gathering material from different areas of its system at the same time might suggest the presence of water as a common feature for the outer parts of planetary systems in general.
Benjamin Zuckerman, who co-authored the research and serves as a professor emeritus in the UCLA Division of Astronomy and Astrophysics, stated:
Life as we know it requires a rocky planet covered with a variety of elements, like carbon, nitrogen and oxygen,
The abundances of the elements we see on this white dwarf appear to require both a rocky and a volatile-rich parent body — the first example we’ve found among studies of hundreds of white dwarfs.
The Hubble telescope also photographed the Abell 1351 lensing galaxy cluster recently, and it looked so well that it became the Picture of the Week.
Our latest Picture of the Week features the massive galaxy cluster Abell 1351, lying in the constellation Ursa Major in the northern hemisphere.
— HUBBLE (@HUBBLE_space) June 20, 2022
Hubble astronomers explained more about the image of Abell 1351, as sci-news.com quotes:
This Hubble image is filled with streaks of light, which are actually the images of distant galaxies,
The streaks are the result of gravitational lensing, an astrophysical phenomenon that occurs when a massive celestial body such as a galaxy cluster distorts spacetime sufficiently strongly to affect the path of light passing through it — almost as if the light were passing through a gigantic lens.
Anybody else feels too small today?