Planets scream when torn apart, scientists say

(ORDO NEWS) — A new study suggests that some planets may emit scream-like bursts of cosmic radio waves as they break apart.

In a new interview with Science News, Nanjing University astronomer Yong-Feng Huang spoke about his recent study, published in the Astrophysics Journal, which claims that collapsing planets may be responsible for some of the recently discovered and obscure Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs) that scientists have recorded. in the depths of space.

Astronomers did not know about FRBs, which are millisecond bursts of radio waves that have yet to be definitively explained, until 2007, when the first such burst was found in archival data from observatories.

Since then, scientists have puzzled over what causes these mysterious radio bursts that keep accumulating, and a new theory offers an intriguing new possibility.

In their study, Huang and colleagues hypothesized that FRBs could be the result of superdense neutron stars interacting with the reckless planets that orbit them.

The idea is that these planets, flying in their elliptical orbits, are so close to high-flying collapsing stars that they begin to literally tear apart, which leads to elongation, distortion and whole pieces falling off.

Once these pieces of the planet break off, the researchers believe, the stellar wind of particles and radiation spewed out by the neutron star could interact with them and result in “really strong radio emissions,” Huang said.

The Nianjing astronomers compared their findings to two known “repeater” FRBs – one discovered in 2016 that repeats about 160 days, and another that repeats every 16 days. The team concluded that the planetary destruction hypothesis could well explain both FRBs studied.

We still have a long way to go before we figure out what – or, most enticingly, who – could be the cause of FRB, but the concept that it’s a stellar cry of radio waves certainly adds drama.

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