October 16, 2021

Astronomers discover a planet that was supposed to burn

At the end of their life cycle, many stars turn into white dwarfs, engulfing or burning everything in their path. NASA astronomers talked about an unusual planet that somehow survived being too close to such a star.

White dwarf WD 1856 + 534 is only 40% larger than Earth. Planet WD 1856, orbiting it every 36 hours, is comparable in size to Jupiter. Curiously, before turning into a white dwarf, WD 1856 + 534 increased hundreds of thousands of times, absorbing all the planets of its system. However, WD 1856 not only survived, but continues to revolve around the “dead” star 60 times faster than Mercury.


An unusual find was recorded by the space telescope for searching for exoplanets TESS and the now retired Spitzer orbital observatory. Equally curious, the planet WD 1856 is about 7 times the size of the star around which it orbits. The white dwarf is about 177,000 kilometers across and is approximately 10 billion years old. In addition, it is considered part of a triple star system and is located 80 light-years from Earth.

The unusual location of the planet may be due to the fact that at the time the star turned into a white dwarf, it was at a distance of up to 50 times further than its current location. However, her movement over such a long distance is also considered a mystery.