Udayavni Special

First-ever planet found orbiting a dead star


PTI, Sep 17, 2020, 4:42 PM IST

Image Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

Washington: Scientists have, for the first time, discovered a Jupiter-sized planet orbiting a white dwarf or a dead star located about 80 light-years away.

The finding, published in the journal Nature, shows the likely presence of the planet, named WD 1856 b, orbiting the smaller star remnant every 34 hours.

“This planet is roughly the size of Jupiter, but it also has a very short orbital period — a year on this planet is only 1.4 days, so it’s quickly whipping around its white dwarf star,” said Ian Crossfield, assistant professor at the University of Kansas in the US.

A white dwarf is the vestige of a star that has ballooned into a red giant then collapsed back into a dense, dim core that is often about the size of Earth, so this planet is much larger than what is left of its star, the researchers said.

The process usually devours orbiting planets — but not in the case of WD 1856 b, which appears somehow to have avoided destruction, they said.

“This tells us white dwarfs can have planets, which is something we didn’t know before,” Crossfield said.

“There are people who now are looking for transiting planets around white dwarfs that could be potentially habitable. It’d be a pretty weird system, and you’d have to think about how the planets actually survived all that time,” he said.

The researchers noted that this finding proves that some kinds of planets can survive and be found around white dwarfs.

At first, WD 1856 b captured astronomers’ interest when they noticed a possible transiting object with NASA’s TESS Space Telescope survey.

TESS finds a planet by looking at a star, and measures how bright the star is continuously for weeks.

To confirm if WD 1856 b indeed was a planet orbiting the white dwarf, Crossfield studied the object’s infrared emissions with NASA’s now-defunct Spitzer Space Telescope in the months leading up to the satellite telescope’s decommission.

WD 1856 b is located about 80 light years away in the northern constellation Draco, the researchers said.

They believe the gaseous planet was pulled in by the white dwarf’s gravity long after the star had dwindled down from its red giant phase — otherwise the planet would have been obliterated in its current orbit.

The researchers noted that our Sun will become a white dwarf in around five billion years.

However, Crossfield said it remained unlikely that the Earth stood a chance of surviving the sun’s red-giant phase in the distant future.

There are a lot of questions about whether planets can survive the process of a star inflating up to become a red giant, swallowing up some of the inner planets, and then shrinking back down and just being left over as the white dwarf again, they said.

Udayavani is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel and stay updated with the latest news.

Top News

K’taka govt announces weekend curfew

COVID second wave: Lockdown should be last option, says PM Modi

K’taka govt cracks whip against agitating transport employees, over 100 arrested

Karnataka asks district authorities to earmark land for cremation of bodies

Guv emphasizes on ‘healthy Karnataka’; new guidelines to be issued soon

40-year-old rickshaw driver killed in road mishap

Maharashtra: Std 10th exam cancelled, ‘strict lockdown’ likely




Related Articles More

Twitter expands engineering team in India, appoints Apurva Dalal as Director of Engineering

Link claiming to change Whatsapp in Pink is a virus, can hack mobile phone: Cyber experts

Two outdated software bugs addressed, says WhatsApp

Adults to be reinfected to study immune response in UK Covid human challenge trial

NASA aims for historic helicopter flight on Mars

MUST WATCH

Ram Navami Special | Exclusive Interview with Vishwa Prasanna Theertha Swamiji | Udayavani

A model police station with all Covid-19 precautions set up in Mangaluru

Udayavani 20-April-2021 News Bulletin

Beer truck overturns, people fight like cats and dogs

Chikkamagaluru: Medical shop fraudulently sold 9-yo glucose packets

Latest Additions

K’taka govt announces weekend curfew

COVID second wave: Lockdown should be last option, says PM Modi

K’taka govt cracks whip against agitating transport employees, over 100 arrested

Karnataka asks district authorities to earmark land for cremation of bodies

Guv emphasizes on ‘healthy Karnataka’; new guidelines to be issued soon

Thanks for visiting Udayavani

You seem to have an Ad Blocker on.
To continue reading, please turn it off or whitelist Udayavani.