White Dwarf: The star that could be inhabited

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The presence of one planet that could potentially support life scientists have located near a dying sun, according to British astronomers.

If confirmed, this would be the first time a potentially habitable planet has been found orbiting such a star, called a “white dwarf”.

The planet was located in the “habitable zone” of the star, where it is neither too cold nor too hot to sustain life.

The study is published in the Royal Astronomical Society’s monthly announcements.

Professor Jay Farihi of University College London, who led the study, said the finding was something completely new to astronomers.

“It’s the first time anything has been found in a white dwarf’s habitable zone. “And so there is the possibility of living in another world,” he told BBC News.

While very large stars cause black holes when they die, smaller ones, like our sun, become white dwarfs – stars that have run out of fuel at their core and lost their outer layers.

They are usually the size of a planet and emit a blue-white light when first formed.

The planet, which is 117 light-years from Earth, is thought to be 60 times closer to the star than our planet to the sun.

BBC

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