Asteroids pummeling tiny star lying 37,000 light-years from Earth
Scientists using CSIRO's Parkes telescope and another telescope in South Africa have found proof that a tiny star, PSR J0738-4042, which lies 37,000 light-years from Earth in the constellation of Puppis, is being pounded by asteroids.
CSIRO astronomer and member of the research team Dr. Ryan Shannon said, said that one of these rocks seems to have had a mass of about a billion tons.
The environment around this star is especially harsh, full of radiation and violent winds of particles.
The star is a special one, a 'pulsar' that emits a beam of radio waves.
Astronomers have found a dust disk around another pulsar called J0146+61.
In 1992 two planet-sized objects were found around a pulsar called PSR 1257+12. But these were probably formed by a different mechanism, the astronomers say.
The new study has been published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.
(Posted on 20-02-2014)