Scientists using CSIRO’s Parkes telescope and another telescope in South Africa have found evidence that a tiny star called PSR J0738-4042 is being pounded by asteroids — large lumps of rock from space.
“One of these rocks seems to have had a mass of about a billion tonnes,” CSIRO astronomer and member of the research team Dr Ryan Shannon said.
PSR J0738-4042 lies 37,000 light-years from Earth in the constellation of Puppis.
The environment around this star is especially harsh, full of radiation and violent winds of particles.
“If a large rocky object can form here, planets could form around any star. That’s exciting,” Dr Shannon said.
The star is a special one, a ‘pulsar’ that emits a beam of radio waves.