Tidal disruption and subsequent accretion of planetesimals by white dwarfs can reveal the elemental abundances of rocky bodies in exoplanetary systems. Those abundances provide information on the composition of the nebula from which the systems formed, which is analogous to how meteorite abundances inform our understanding of the early Solar System. We report the detection of lithium, sodium, potassium, and calcium in the atmosphere of the white dwarf Gaia DR2 4353607450860305024, which we ascribe to the accretion of a planetesimal. Using model atmospheres, we determine abundance ratios of these elements, and, with the exception of lithium, they are consistent with meteoritic values in the Solar System. We compare the measured lithium abundance with measurements in old stars and with expectations from Big Bang nucleosynthesis.
- Pub Date:
- January 2021
- ASTRONOMY, GEOCHEM PHYS, PLANET SCI;
- Astrophysics - Earth and Planetary Astrophysics;
- Astrophysics - Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics;
- Astrophysics - Solar and Stellar Astrophysics
- Sub 30Jun2020