Planet Found in the Habitable Zone of a White Dwarf

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Planet Found in the Habitable Zone of a White Dwarf

Post by fred8615 »

Most stars will end their lives as white dwarfs. White dwarfs are the remnant cores of once-luminous stars like our Sun, but they’ve left their lives of fusion behind and no longer generate heat. They’re destined to glow with only their residual energy for billions of years before they eventually fade to black.

Could life eke out an existence on a planet huddled up to one of these fading spectres?

For life to exist around a white dwarf, the white dwarf would have to have planets in its slowly shrinking habitable zone. Astronomers have found what appear to be planets in the habitable zone of a white dwarf about 117 light-years away. The planet might be nestled in a protoplanetary disk of debris.

A new study led by researchers from the University College of London announces the findings. The title is “Relentless and complex transits from a planetesimal debris disc.” It’s published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, and the lead author is Professor Jay Farihi from the UCL Department of Physics & Astronomy.

“This is the first time astronomers have detected any kind of planetary body in the habitable zone of a white dwarf.”

Professor Jay Farihi, UCL Dep’t. of Physics and Astronomy.
The star’s name is WD1054–226. The researchers behind this work observed WD1054-226 for 18 nights with the ESO’s New Technology Telescope (NTT) at their La Silla Observatory, observing dips in starlight as something passed between us and the star. They used the NTT’s ULTRACAM high-speed camera to capture data images of the white dwarf. They also examined data on the same star from NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS.)

Read more: ... ite-dwarf/
Frederick J. Barnett
"Someone's got to take the responsibility if the job's going to get done!! Do you think that's easy?!" Gregory Peck - The Guns Of Navarone
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