#astronomy The curious incident of the star that wasn’t there – Astronomy Now

October 24, 2021 - Comment

In a 2010 microlensing occasion, the sunshine from a background star (shiny star in middle and proper frames) was magnified, or brightened, when a presumed most important sequence star handed in entrance as seen from Earth. However a search later failed to seek out the lensing star. Researchers concluded the occasion seemingly was attributable to



In a 2010 microlensing occasion, the sunshine from a background star (shiny star in middle and proper frames) was magnified, or brightened, when a presumed most important sequence star handed in entrance as seen from Earth. However a search later failed to seek out the lensing star. Researchers concluded the occasion seemingly was attributable to a white dwarf and an orbiting planet in a Jupiter-like orbit. Picture: J.W. Blackman et al

Local weather change apart, Earth’s long-term future is bleak. When the Solar makes use of up the hydrogen gasoline in its core, fusion will grind to a halt, the core will contract and the star’s outer layers will develop previous the orbit of Mercury. Earth will seemingly be engulfed by the evolving pink large in about eight billion years because the Solar finally turns into a white dwarf.

However what about Jupiter and the outer planets? Simulations point out planets at Jupiter’s distance can, in actual fact, survive a star’s pink large part, however observational proof has been missing.

Writing in Nature, a staff led by J.W. Blackman of the College of Tasmania has discovered simply such a system utilizing microlensing, the distortion of sunshine from a distant object by the gravity of a better physique in direct line of sight from Earth.

The microlensing occasion in query, often called MOA-201-BLG-477Lb, was found in 2010. Evaluation of the sunshine curve indicated a foreground star with zero.15 to zero.93 photo voltaic plenty. The info additionally advised a planet between zero.5 and a pair of.1 Jupiter plenty. Given estimates of the lensing star’s correct movement, the researchers have been capable of predict the place it will transfer with respect to the background star after the decade-old microlensing occasion.

Utilizing the Keck II telescope in Hawaii, the staff looked for the anticipated main-sequence lensing star, however no such star was discovered. Given the telescope’s sensitivity, that meant the lensing physique couldn’t be a most important sequence star. A brown dwarf was dominated out as a result of the supply plenty not less than zero.15 the mass of the Solar. The higher finish of the mass vary, nonetheless beneath the mass of the Solar, dominated out a black gap or neutron star.

The evaluation concluded that they had discovered a white dwarf and a surviving planet that “represents an analog to the top phases of the Solar and Jupiter in our personal Photo voltaic System.”

“We decide this technique accommodates a zero.53 ± zero.11 photo voltaic mass white dwarf host orbited by a 1.four ± zero.three Jupiter mass planet,” they write within the paper’s summary. “This method is proof that planets round white dwarfs can survive the large and asymptotic large phases of their host’s evolution, and helps the prediction that over half of white dwarfs are predicted to have Jovian planetary companions.”



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