Agence France-PresseSep 17, 2020 09:30:37 IST
Astronomers have discovered a planet the size of Jupiter closely orbiting the smouldering remains of a dead star, the first time that an intact exoplanet has been discovered travelling around a white dwarf, according to research published Wednesday.
Researchers said the fate of this giant planet, called WD 1586 b, offers a potential vision of our own Solar System when the Sun eventually ages into a white dwarf in around five billion years.
When it has burned through its stores of hydrogen, a star like the Sun enters its death-throes, first swelling enormously into an incandescent red giant that scorches and engulfs nearby planets. Then it collapses, reducing it to its burnt-out core.
This is the white dwarf, an extremely dense stellar ember glowing faintly with leftover thermal energy and slowly fading over billions of years.
Previous research has suggested some white dwarfs can retain more distant remnants of their planetary systems.