News: Astronomers from the University of Warwick’s Department of Physics and the Millennium Nucleus for Planet Formation (NPF) at the University of Valparaiso have found the first-ever evidence of a planet orbiting a dead white dwarf star.
- The star is around 2000 light-years away from Earth.
- The planet orbits the white dwarf every ten days, and cannot be seen directly.
White Dwarf Stars:
- Stars like the Sun fuse hydrogen in their cores into helium. White dwarfs are stars that have burned up all of the hydrogen they once used as nuclear fuel.
- Fusion in a star’s core produces heat and outward pressure. This pressure is kept in balance by the inward push of gravity generated by a star’s mass. When the hydrogen used as fuel vanishes, and fusion slows, gravity causes the star to collapse in on itself, thus forming a white dwarf star.
- White dwarfs typically have a radius just .01 times that of the Sun in our Solar System, but their mass is about the same as the Sun.