Stars end their lives with a violent explosion known as a supernova. These cataclysmic phenomenons could be as bright as an entire galaxy, which means that nothing should be able to remain intact in their vicinity. But yet again, a new discovery comes to prove that humanity still has a lot to learn about solar systems.
An international team of astronomers who were using NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) and the retired Spitzer Space Telescope had discovered a large object the size of Jupiter that exists in a totally unexpected area.
Beware of WD 1856 b
The team discovered what could be the first intact planet that’s found orbiting close to a white dwarf, the remaining core of a supernova. WD 1856 b is the name of the Jupiter-sized planet, and it’s a lot bigger than the white dwarf it orbits, which is known as WD 1856+534. The object makes a full rotation around the star in only 34 hours.
Andrew Vanderburg, leader of the study and an assistant professor of astronomy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, declared:
WD 1856 b somehow got very close to its white dwarf and managed to stay in one piece,
The white dwarf creation process destroys nearby planets, and anything that later gets too close is usually torn apart by the star’s immense gravity. We still have many questions about how WD 1856 b arrived at its current location without meeting one of those fates.
The WD 1856 b planet is located about 80 light-years away from us in the northern constellation Draco. That means several solar systems away, considering that Alpha Centauri is located somewhere between 3 and 4 light-years from Earth. The newfound planet orbits a white dwarf that measures only 11,000 miles (18,000 kilometers) across.
The new study was published in the journal Nature.