Burning lithium inside a star (artist's impression)

Artist’s impression of a baby star still surrounded by a protoplanetary disc in which planets are forming. Using ESO’s very successful HARPS spectrograph, a team of astronomers has found that Sun-like stars which host planets have destroyed their lithium much more efficiently than planet-free stars. This finding does not only shed light on the low levels of this chemical element in the Sun, solving a long-standing mystery, but also provides astronomers with a very efficient way to pick out the stars most likely to host planets. It is not clear what causes the lithium to be destroyed. The general idea is that the planets or the presence of the protoplanetary disc disturb the interior of the star, bringing the lithium deeper down into the star than usual, into regions where the temperature is so hot that it is destroyed.

Mynd/Myndskeið:

ESO/L. Calçada

Um myndina

Auðkenni:eso0942a
Tegund:Uppdráttur
Útgáfudagur:11. nóvember 2009
Tengdar fréttatilkynningar:eso0942
Tengdar tilkynningar:ann1046
Stærð:3000 x 2000 px

Um fyrirbærið

Nafn:Protoplanetary disc
Tegund:Unspecified : Star : Circumstellar Material : Disk : Protoplanetary
Flokkur:Illustrations

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