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May 10 2013

Hubble Discovers 'Planetary Graveyard'


The Hubble Space Telescope has discovered rocky remains of planetary material ‘polluting’ the atmospheres of two white dwarfs — a sign that these stars likely have (or had) planetary systems and that asteroids are currently being shredded by extreme tidal forces.

Although white dwarfs with polluted atmospheres have been observed before, this is the first time evidence of planetary systems have been discovered in stars belonging to a relatively young cluster of stars.

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