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WDJ0914+1914: GIANT PLANET ORBITING A WHITE DWARF STAR

Written by Talent KAS

Related Topic in KAS Prelims Syllabus:

Science and Technology [Paper-II]: Technology in Space

Why in News?

For the first time, astronomers have discovered evidence for a giant planet orbiting a tiny, dead white dwarf star.

News in Detail

  • 4.5 billion years from today, Sun will run out of fuel and shed its outer layers.
  • In the process, it will destroy Mercury, Venus and probably Earth, and is expected to radiate enough high energy photons to evaporate Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.
  • What will remain of the Sun is called a white dwarf”.
  • Astronomers from the University of Warwick and the University of Valparaíso have reported the first indirect evidence of a giant planet orbiting a white dwarf star (WDJ0914+1914).
  • The Neptune-like planet orbits the white dwarf every ten days, and cannot be seen directly.
  • The planet is about four times as big as the white dwarf, which is roughly the same size as Earth.
  • Spikes of gas were detected by the Very Large Telescope of the European Southern Observatory in Chile.

Significance

  • While there was growing evidence accumulated in the past two decades that planetary systems can survive into white dwarf stars, only smaller objects such as asteroids had been detected so far.
  • This is the first evidence of an actual planet in such a system.

[Source: Indian Express, nasa.gov]

 

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Talent KAS

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