Before wanting to complain about countless things like bad Internet connection, dense traffic, or too expensive clothes, we should be pretty grateful that we have at our disposal this wonderful planet that peacefully follows its path around the Sun. Well, it wasn’t always like this. Back in the time when Earth was like a vision of Hell, with molten lava on the whole surface, a collision with another planet made possible the existence of our Moon.
But that happened long ago, billions of years in the past. Now life is thriving on our planet in peaceful ways. Well, let’s say almost peaceful.
Exoplanet collision on BD +20 307 solar system
Scientists used SOFIA, an airplane-based telescope ran by NASA and its German counterpart, to conclude that there is a residue of a recent dustup in the BD +20 307 solar system.
Alycia Weinberger, the lead investigator on the project and a staff scientist at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, D.C., said in a NASA statement:
“This is a rare opportunity to study catastrophic collisions occurring late in a planetary system’s history,”
“The SOFIA observations show changes in the dusty disk on a timescale of only a few years.”
The BD +20 307 solar system is located in a region with stars at least 1 billion years old; therefore, the debris resulted from their birth should have cooled by now. The only explanation for the warm dust in that area remains a collision between two exoplanets, according to the researchers. And there aren’t any known events that should cause warm dust during a time frame so short as the scientists’ observations of the star. They have been studying it for the first time a decade ago, when there was a lot less warm dust residing.
Luckily for us, the solar system is “only” 300 light-years away from Earth. It may be nothing at the astronomical scale, but it’s far enough not to pose any threat to us.
The research has been published in The Astrophysical Journal on April 12.