The harsh destiny of a planet?
Using the very efficient UVES high-resolution spectrograph at the ESO VLT 8.2-m KUEYEN telescope, they have convincingly detected the presence of the rare isotope Lithium-6 (6 Li; ) in this metal-rich, solar-type dwarf star that is also known to possess a planetary system.
Unlike the Lithium-7 (7 Li) isotope of this light element, any primordial Lithium-6 would not survive the early evolutionary stages of a metal-rich solar-type star. The Lithium-6 now seen in HD 82943 must therefore have been added later, but from where? The astronomers believe that this observation strongly suggests that the star has at some moment engulfed one of its planets, whose Lithium-6 was then deposited in the star's atmosphere.
The video shows an artist's impression of the engulfment of a planet.Bildnachweis: