NASA Astronomers Discovered First-Ever WD 1856 b A Jupiter-Sized Planet Orbiting A Dead Star

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From earth, about 80 light-years away scientists have discovered for the first time a Jupiter-sized planet orbiting a white dwarf or a dead star. The planet was named with WD 1856 b which was finding and published on the journal Nature which shows that the planet orbiting the smaller star remnant every 34 hours.

According to this discover, Ian Crossfield, assistant professor at the University of Kansas in the US said, “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,”

Adding with this statement, Ian Crossfield said, “This tells us white dwarfs can have planets, which is something we didn’t know before,”

He also 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,”

The researchers said,” 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 team of researchers also said that” The process usually devours orbiting planets — but not in the case of WD 1856 b, which appears somehow to have avoided destruction. This finding proves that some kinds of planets can survive and be found around white dwarfs,”

WD 1856 b was captured with NASA’s TESS Space Telescope by NASA astronomers when they noticed a possible transiting object.

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

Lead researcher Andrew Vanderburg, Assistant Professor of Astronomy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the US said, “WD 1856 b somehow got very close to its white dwarf and managed to stay in one piece,”

“The white dwarf creation process destroys nearby planets, and anything that later gets too close is usually torn apart by the star`s immense gravity. We still have many questions about how WD 1856 b arrived at its current location without meeting one of those fates.”

They believe that the gravity of the white dwarf pulled the gaseous planet long after the star dropped from its massive red phase – otherwise the planet would have been destroyed in its current orbit.

The researchers noted that our Sun will become a white dwarf in around five billion years. Crossfield said, however, that the Earth is unlikely to remain likely to survive the giant red phase of the sun in the distant future.

There are many questions about whether planets can survive the process of a star going up to become a red giant, swallowing up some of the inner planets, and then shrinking backward and saying goodbye like the white dwarf again, they said.

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