Giant planet found orbiting a white dwarf

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brian livesey
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Location: Lancashire

Giant planet found orbiting a white dwarf

Post by brian livesey »

This is a first time discovery of a planet orbiting a white dwarf. The giant planet is thought to be a gas giant, up to fourteen times the mass of Jupiter. WD1856b zips round it's host star in 34 days, which puts it very close to the white dwarf.
Astrophysicists think that the planet must have migrated further in to the star from an orbit much further away, as the dwarf lost mass through its red giant phase. The discover of a planet orbiting a white dwarf was made with NASA,s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, confirmed by the Spitzer Infra Red Space Telescope.
Spitzer couldn't detect an IR signal from WD1856b, revealing that it was a planet, not a stellar object. The discovery pauses the question of whether there may be smaller, habitable, planets orbiting white dwarfs. The discovery is published in the journal "Nature".
Last edited by brian livesey on Fri Oct 02, 2020 6:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Eva Braun
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Joined: Mon Aug 31, 2020 1:27 pm

Re: Giant planet found orbiting a white dwarf

Post by Eva Braun »

The researchers used Spitzer to observe the system in infrared, just a few months before the space telescope was decommissioned and the mission ended. As measured by Spitzer, the upper limit of the temperature on the planet is 63 degrees Fahrenheit (17 degrees Celsius), which is very Earth-like. However, the planet is a gas giant, not a rocky world, so unlikely to be habitable in this case.
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