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Scientists Discover Jupiter-sized Planet Orbiting a Tiny White Dwarf Star

Image for representation.

Image for representation.

It orbits a cool, quiet white dwarf that is roughly 11,000 miles (18,000 kilometres) across, maybe up to 10 billion years old. The planet appears to be a distant member of a triple star system.

A planet similar to the size of Jupiter has been found orbiting a tiny white dwarf star by an international team of astronomers. According to reports, the planet is about seven times larger than the white dwarf.

A statement issued by NASA revealed that the huge planet, known as WD 1856 b, was found using Nasa's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) and retired Spitzer Space Telescope. The satellite spotted WD 1856 b about 80 light-years away in the northern constellation Draco. It orbits a cool, quiet white dwarf that is roughly 11,000 miles (18,000 kilometres) across, maybe up to 10 billion years old. The planet appears to be a distant member of a triple star system.

To find any object near to a white dwarf is very rare as it gets destroyed during "white dwarf creation process". Andrew Vanderburg, the member of the research team and an assistant professor of astronomy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison said that they have many questions about how WD 1856 b arrived at its current location without meeting destruction as the white dwarf creation process destroys nearby planets.

The report suggests that no intact planets have been detected before this in orbits near white dwarfs. The co-author of the study, SiyiXu is quoted by Physics World as saying, "We've seen hints that planets could scatter inward, too, but this appears to be the first time we've seen a planet that made the whole journey intact". She further added that they didn’t detect any light from the planet itself, even in the infrared which indicates, the planet is extremely cool, among the coolest they have ever found.

According to the report published by Nature, Vanderburg and several NASA co-authors conducted the research to observe the periodic dimming of the white dwarf caused by the planet passing in front of the star in its orbit. They believed that the planet is of the same size as Jupiter and is no more than 14 times as massive.

The researchers also estimated that the huge planet must have originated at least 50 times farther away from its present location.


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