A disintegrating minor planet transiting a white dwarf

  title={A disintegrating minor planet transiting a white dwarf},
  author={Andrew M. Vanderburg and John Asher Johnson and Saul A. Rappaport and Allyson Bieryla and Jonathan M. Irwin and John Arban Lewis and David M. Kipping and Warren R. Brown and P. Dufour and David R. Ciardi and Ruth Angus and Laura Schaefer and David W. Latham and David Charbonneau and Charles A. Beichman and Jason D. Eastman and Nate McCrady and Robert A. Wittenmyer and Jason T. Wright},
Most stars become white dwarfs after they have exhausted their nuclear fuel (the Sun will be one such). Between one-quarter and one-half of white dwarfs have elements heavier than helium in their atmospheres, even though these elements ought to sink rapidly into the stellar interiors (unless they are occasionally replenished). The abundance ratios of heavy elements in the atmospheres of white dwarfs are similar to the ratios in rocky bodies in the Solar System. This fact, together with the… 

A planetesimal orbiting within the debris disc around a white dwarf star

A stable 123.4-minute periodic variation in the strength and shape of the Ca ii emission line profiles originating from the debris disc around the white dwarf SDSS J122859.93+104032 is interpreted as the signature of a solid-body planetesimal held together by its internal strength.

Accretion of a giant planet onto a white dwarf star

Optical spectroscopy of a hot white dwarf, WD J091405.30+191412, reveals that the chemical abundances in its disk are similar to those thought to exist deep in icy giant planets, so the white dwarf must be accreting a giant planet.

Exoplanets: A glimpse of Earth's fate

Observations of one or more disintegrating planetesimals in transit across the white dwarf WD 1145+017, with periods ranging from 4.5 to 4.9 hours, provide further evidence that the pollution of white dwarfs by heavy elements might originate from disrupted rocky bodies such as asteroids and minor planets.

A giant planet candidate transiting a white dwarf.

These findings for the WD 1856+534 system indicate that giant planets can be scattered into tight orbits without being tidally disrupted, motivating the search for smaller transiting planets around white dwarfs.

Liberating exomoons in white dwarf planetary systems

Previous studies indicate that more than a quarter of all white dwarf (WD) atmospheres are polluted by remnant planetary material, with some WDs being observed to accrete the mass of Pluto in 106 yr.

A Jovian analogue orbiting a white dwarf star.

The non-detection of a main-sequence lens star in the microlensing event MOA-2010-BLG-477Lb12 using near-infrared observations from the Keck Observatory is reported, which is evidence that planets around white dwarfs can survive the giant and asymptotic giant phases of their host's evolution, and supports the prediction that more than half ofwhite dwarfs have Jovian planetary companions.

Throwing Icebergs at White Dwarfs

White dwarfs (WDs) have atmospheres that are expected to consist nearly entirely of hydrogen and helium, since heavier elements will sink out of sight on short timescales. However, observations have

The critical binary star separation for a planetary system origin of white dwarf pollution

The atmospheres of between one quarter and one half of observed single white dwarfs in the Milky Way contain heavy element pollution from planetary debris. The pollution observed in white dwarfs in

Unstable low-mass planetary systems as drivers of white dwarf pollution

At least 25 percent of white dwarfs show atmospheric pollution by metals, sometimes accompanied by detectable circumstellar dust/gas discs or (in the case of WD 1145+017) transiting disintegrating

A white dwarf accreting planetary material determined from X-ray observations.

The atmospheres of a large proportion of white dwarf stars are polluted by heavy elements1 that are expected to sink out of visible layers on short timescales2,3. This has been interpreted as a




Infrared studies have revealed debris likely related to planet formation in orbit around ∼30% of youthful, intermediate mass, main-sequence stars. We present evidence, based on atmospheric pollution

The frequency of planetary debris around young white dwarfs

Context. Heavy metals in the atmospheres of white dwarfs are thought in many cases to be accreted from a circumstellar debris disk, which was formed by the tidal disruption of a rocky planetary body

Evidence for Water in the Rocky Debris of a Disrupted Extrasolar Minor Planet

Detailed spectroscopic analysis of a debris-accreting white dwarf, along with knowledge that such systems accrete this debris from remnants of rocky planetary bodies, is used to derive the water content in a disrupted extrasolar body.

The frequency and infrared brightness of circumstellar discs at white dwarfs

White dwarfs whose atmospheres are polluted by terrestrial-like planetary debris have become a powerful and unique tool to study evolved planetary systems. This paper presents results for an unbiased

Are There Unstable Planetary Systems around White Dwarfs?

The presence of planets around solar-type stars suggests that many white dwarfs should have relic planetary systems. While planets closer than ~5 AU will most likely not survive the


Since white dwarfs (WDs) are small, the contrast between the thermal emission of an orbiting object and a WD is dramatically enhanced compared to a main-sequence host. Furthermore, rocky objects much


Spitzer Space Observatory IRAC and MIPS photometric observations are presented for 20 white dwarfs with Teff ≲ 20, 000 K and metal-contaminated photospheres. A warm circumstellar disk is detected at

A Tidally Disrupted Asteroid around the White Dwarf G29-38

The infrared excess around the white dwarf G29-38 can be explained by emission from an opaque flat ring of dust with an inner radius of 0.14 R☉ and an outer radius of less than 1 R☉. This ring lies

Formation of planetary debris discs around white dwarfs – I. Tidal disruption of an extremely eccentric asteroid

25–50 per cent of all white dwarfs (WDs) host observable and dynamically active remnant planetary systems based on the presence of close-in circumstellar dust and gas and photospheric metal

Detectable close-in planets around white dwarfs through late unpacking

Although 25%-50% of white dwarfs (WDs) display evidence for remnant planetary systems, their orbital architectures and overall sizes remain unknown. Vibrant close-in (~1 Solar radius) circumstellar