Scientists have found a planet that might represent a glimpse into our future. Two papers published in the journals Astrophysical Journal Letters and Nature journals revealed that astronomers have discovered a planet orbiting a dead star.
While this has been speculated by scientists, this discovery is the first proof that planets can revolve around dead stars. Researchers believe that there are more similar planets out there. More than that, scientists say that 1 in 10,000 dead stars have planets orbiting them.
“For the past 20 years, it’s been more and more clear that there are remnants of planetary systems around white dwarfs,” said Boris Gänsicke, one of the authors of the paper published in Nature. Scientists agreed that those white dwarfs should have proper planets orbiting them, but none had been found so far.
The white dwarf is known as WDJ0914+1914. Gänsicke has been studying the star for quite some time. The signal received from it was a weak one, but despite this fact, oxygen was detected. The Very Large Telescope array from Chile was used in order to further inspect the white dwarf.
It was clear that something really amazing was going on in the solar system since they found out immediately the emissions of hydrogen, oxygen, and sulfur. This comes from Gänsicke. “The shape of this line told us that they must come from around the star, not from the star itself.” Therefore, learning more about the composition of the planet has become a priority.
Researching the white dwarf and its planet should be beneficial for researchers in the future, as it can help them predict the future of our own planet. Gänsicke hopes to discover even more similar planets and he believes that his research will help other scientists as well.