Finding a huge planet “the size of Jupiter” orbiting a dead star

Astronomers have found a Jupiter-sized planet orbiting a white dwarf in the Milky Way, marking the first time a world of its size has been seen around a dead star, and when a sun-like star approaches the end of its life, it enters its giant phase, before pushing its layers The outer layer, leaving a small white core, is known as a white dwarf.

Observations from the Keck Observatory in Hawaii allowed the team from Australia and New Zealand to study the system in more detail. The team found that the gas giant, dubbed MOA2010BLG477Lb, was able to survive the death of its host star, and is now orbiting much closer than it did before.

The team said that this system, which is about 6,500 light-years away in the direction of the galactic center, is likely a good example of what might happen to Jupiter when the sun reaches the final stages of its life in about five billion years.

The planet is about 1.4 times the size of Jupiter, and is currently about two and a half times farther from its star than the distance between the Earth and the sun, and previous studies have explored smaller objects orbiting a white dwarf. It found that remnants of destroyed planets and debris disk planets could survive the fickle evolution of their host stars from red giants to white dwarfs.

However, simulations created by astronomers also predicted that full-sized planets could survive, and the simulations suggested that planets in an orbit similar to Jupiter, around a star no larger than eight times the size of the Sun, were the most likely to survive.

However, so far, with the discovery of MOA2010BLG477Lb, no such world has been found by astronomers, and the gas giant planet has been discovered about 2.8 AU, or about 260 million miles, away from the white dwarf star, which is about half the mass of the Sun. It is a very dense star, and the mass of the Sun is often crammed into an Earth-size object.

This makes them remarkably difficult to find, and in the study, Joshua Blackman and colleagues obtained deep-field exposures surrounding MOA2010BLG477L, which was previously discovered through microlensing – the only known method capable of detecting planets at very long distances from Earth.

The team found that the planet formed at the same time as the host star, rather than from the debris left by the star when the star shed its outer layers, meaning that it somehow managed to survive after the star stopped burning hydrogen in its core, which Provides evidence that planets can survive in the gas giant phase.

The work supports the theory that more than half of the white dwarfs are expected to have similar planetary companions, and the astronomers also said that it “likely represents a counterpart to the final stages of the Sun and Jupiter in our solar system.”


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