First possible planet found orbiting white dwarf

Illustration, WD 1856 b, a possibly Jupiter-size planet, orbits its smaller host star, a dim white dwarf |
Credits: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

International team of astronomers has reported what may be the first intact planet orbiting a white dwarf. The white dwarf is the dense leftover of a Sun-like star and is about 40% larger than Earth. They had been operating NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) and retired Spitzer Space Telescope when discovered.

WD 1856 b (Jupiter-size object), is about seven times larger than the white dwarf, WD 1856+534. The orbit is only 34 hours. Which is more than 60 times faster than Mercury’s orbit around our Sun.

“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.”

– Andrew Vanderburg, assistant professor of astronomy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

Watch to learn how a possible giant planet may have survived its tiny star’s chaotic history.

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Jon Van Horne
Jon Van Horne

He began his career in media as a multimedia designer and developer in Montreal, Quebec. He developed a passion for media during his job in Photography and Video at a Montreal media content company. Other passions in media, photography/videography and soon going back to school in engineering.

reference: NASA