For the first time, a research team has succeeded in directly observing the effects of a giant collision between two exoplanets. The team has now announced this in the scientific journal Nature, and explained that the analysis showed that two ice giants may have collided in the orbit of the star ASASSN-21qj, which is 1,800 light-years away. Not only was heat generated, but a cloud of dust was also created. It should become more widespread in the coming years, and the light scattering it produces can also be examined using ground-based telescopes and the James Webb Space Telescope.
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The discovery began with the interest of an amateur astronomer. Arto Saigno first commented on a short message from astronomer Matthew Kenworthy of the Leiden Observatory on Twitter that showed a dim star, ScienceNews wrote. So Kenworthy suspected that this might be due to some kind of ring. However, Saenio discovered that the star had become noticeably brighter in the infrared spectrum about three years ago. Then the original hypothesis collapsed, but the discovery of planetary collisions was no less amazing.
The specific temperature, the amount of glowing matter, and the duration of the glow are consistent with the theory of planetary collisions. Co-author Simon Locke from the University of Bristol explains. She added that the collected data and additional observations will provide a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the composition of these celestial bodies. Normally the interior of these planets would be hidden by thick layers of hydrogen and helium, but here they are being thrown outwards. For example, it has already been observed that a large amount of water vapor quickly cooled the remaining celestial body to about 1000 K. The whole analysis It has now been published in Nature.
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