Jupiter-like exoplanet discovered to be orbiting around a near-dead star

A planet of the size of the Jupiter has been detected by astronomers, which has been found orbiting near-dead glowing remains of a star. For the first time, an entire exoplanet has been discovered which has been orbiting around a dwarf, the research published on Wednesday says.

The providence of this giant, named WD 1586 b, provides a possible vision of the solar system, especially since our Sun is likely to age into a white dwarf in around 5 billion years.

When it has burned itself via its supply of hydrogen, a star-like Sun is expected to set a foot into its death agony, which first swells severely into a radiant red hot giant, which will singe and engulf other planets. Later, the star will crumble and minimize its red burnt out around the core.

This white dwarf, later on, glows faintly with leftover thermal energy and will slowly fade in billions of years. Researchers earlier have suggested that some white dwarfs can hold on to faraway remains of their planetary systems.

However, until now, no entire planet had been discovered orbiting around a dead star.

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“The discovery came as something of a surprise,” said Andrew Vanderburg, assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who led the research published in Nature.

“A previous example of a similar system, where an object was seen to pass in front of a white dwarf, showed only a debris field from a disintegrating asteroid.

This planet is around ten times larger as compared to its father called WD 1856+534. It was detected by NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), orbiting the white dwarf every 1.4 days.

Siyi Xu, an assistant astronomer at the US National Science Foundation’s Gemini Observatory, said that because there was no visible debris from the planet around the star, researchers concluded it was entire.

“We’ve had indirect evidence that planets exist around white dwarfs and it’s amazing to finally find a planet like this,” said Xu, in a statement from NSF’s NOIRLab.

This discovery gives us an idea about how planets in the distant future can end up in or near the white dwarf and eventually be congenial to life even after the star has died, the statement said.

The mystery remains how the giant got so close to the white dwarf. It is being thought that the red hot giant makes it difficult for the nearby planets to survive. If the same process would happen to the Sun, the Earth, Venus, and Mercury will probably get engulfed as well.

“Our discovery suggests that WD 1856b must have originally orbited far away from the star, and then somehow journeyed inwards after the star became a white dwarf,” said Vanderburg.

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“Now that we know that planets can survive the journey without being broken up by the white dwarf’s gravity, we can look for other, smaller planets. After revising various scenarios, the astronomers suggest that WD 1586b might have been thrown into a close orbit due to interactions with other planets.”

The white dwarf WD 1856+534 is nearly 82 light-years away from the Earth, so the gravitational effects of other planets will be detectable by space observatory missions, said Parsons. “This system, therefore, opens up an entirely new field of exoplanetary research,” he added. 

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