back to article 'Death star' reaches out invisible hand, rips planet apart

Pity the latest planet spotted by NASA's K2 (the re-birthed Kepler) mission: boiled by starlight from its host, WD 1145+017, and racked by gravity, it's only got a million years left. The planet, about the size of Ceres and circling a star shrunk down to roughly Earth-size, is already followed by so much debris that Harvard- …

  1. This post has been deleted by its author

  2. Bronek Kozicki

    Now, that is something

    "planet, about the size of Ceres and circling a star shrunk down to roughly Earth-size"

    Quite impressive that we can observe such small planets in bloody remote solar systems!

    1. John Robson Silver badge

      Re: Now, that is something

      So aroudn a dwarf star a dwarf planet is called a planet, not a dwarf planet?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Now, that is something

        If the dwarf star happens to be called Cinder-ella.

        "Cinderalla and the dwarf planets: A new mashup!"

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Now, that is something

        Please show some sensitivity and refer to them as Little Stars and Little Planets. "Dwarf" is a denigratory word and only serves to hurt the feelings of those affected.

    2. Mpeler

      Re: Now, that is something

      Also impressive that it's wired in Ceres parallel...

  3. Michael H.F. Wilkinson

    Very interesting

    Makes you wonder what fireworks would go of if the planet (or its remains) finally nosedive into the white dwarf

  4. Paul_Murphy

    Dwarf star and planets hmm.....

    So the star is a white dwarf and the object circling it is a dwarf (Ceres sized) planet.

    There must be a joke about this - maybe the star should be renamed 'Snow' and a hunt undertaken for the 6 missing companions :-)

  5. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    It's a Holocaust!

    Why is there a "trail" though?

    Shouldn't the debris widen around the original cerestroid in a more cloud-like fashion?

    1. Grikath

      Re: It's a Holocaust!

      Not if there isn't any process happening adding energy to the debris in some way. The breaking up process takes energy, so any piece of debris will at best have the same velocity as the orginal planet. There'll be some pieces that will get accelerated by all the interactions going on there, but by and large the bits will be far more likely to end up slightly slower than the original planet, thus forming a tail.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Re: It's a Holocaust!

        end up slightly slower than the original planet, thus forming a tail

        I am not convinced. The statistical process should make the debris faster and slower relative to the central mass with equal probability.

        Also, remember the Gas Torus Mnemonic: "East takes you out, out takes you west, west takes you in, in takes you east, port and starboard bring you back"

        If the debris slow down relative to the central mass, they will fall in and will overtake the planet.

        1. Alistair

          Re: It's a Holocaust!

          Upvote for the fact that you've clearly read Integral Trees.

          I'm not certain the same mechanic would apply in this case -- it sounds rather like the orbit here is likely one that has a very narrow stable speed, such that much drop in velocity and the matter falls into the stars gravity well, and any acceleration results in leaving the orbit. Its a rational hypothesis at least.

          1. circuitguy

            Re: It's a Holocaust!

            the extreme rotation of planet around sun "probably" cancels any vector energy needed eject mass "forward", so everything will fall behind central mass and slowly change vector and move towards sun unless the sun is moving in curve space...etc......etc.....

            1. JCitizen Bronze badge

              Re: It's a Holocaust!

              Seems like that would depend on the rotational speed of the "dwarf" planet. If it in fact is rotating at all. The bugger may not even be on a regular axis in relation to the dwarf star. Perhaps it rotates the opposite direction of a "normal" planet, like Venus's retrograde spin?

    2. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: It's a Holocaust!

      Not everything is in a/the cloud these days... hey, I think I just found the 'IT angle'...

  6. MyffyW Silver badge

    Remember though....

    The ability to destroy a planet is insignificant next to the power of the Force

    1. Thecowking

      Re: Remember though....

      ...Of gravity.

  7. Morrie Wyatt

    Did the "B-Ark" get it right?

    Sure it's not Golgafrincham?

    After all, the entire compliment of the "B-Ark" was reliably informed that it was doomed.

    1. Mad Chaz

      Re: Did the "B-Ark" get it right?

      Maybe we're in the presence of one of the great Arkleseizure's boogers.

      1. PNGuinn

        Re: Did the "B-Ark" get it right?

        It's sheer poetry, I tell 'ee, sheer poetry ...... if your gut can stand it.

        BTW, has any one worked out yet where this bypass is headed?

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