An astronomical project called Sloan Digital Sky Survey has discovered a new planet. This had put an end to the two-decade speculation about the existence of the new planet.
According to the astronomers, the new planet orbits the star WDJ0914+1914 once in every 10 days approximately. It also resembles NEPTUNE and is four times bigger than its star.
Astronomers term the findings as significant because till now there is no direct evidence of a new planet that survived the process of transition of a star into a ‘White Dwarf’. This result has now injected a new hope for the researchers and astronomers that there might be many more planets like this around the White Dwarf.
However, the astronomers could not observe the new planet directly due to its extreme heat of approximately 28000° C. They also find that the extreme heat is making the star to evaporate slowly. As per the astronomical theories, during this process particle of light or the high-energy protons will be emitted from the white dwarf that in turn will blow away the Hydrogen from the new planet. Because of this, the planet looks like having a tail which is formed by the
Astronomers have also detected Oxygen and Sulfur gases in addition to smaller amounts of hydrogen gas emitted from the planet that falls towards the white dwarf which in turn creates a disk of gas which was detected.
According to the lead author of the study from the University of Warwick in the U.K., Boris Gaensicke
He flagged a few hundred that he wanted my opinion on, and I noticed a very weak signature of oxygen in one of them—barely noticeable—that I’d never seen before.
We therefore decided to use the Very Large Telescope of the European Southern Observatory to get much better quality data, which almost immediately showed that this white dwarf is surrounded by a large disk of hydrogen, oxygen and sulfur.
However, our observations show that it is a single white dwarf with a disc around it roughly ten times the size of our sun, made solely of hydrogen, oxygen and sulfur. Such a system has never been seen before, and it was immediately clear to me that this was a unique star,
This star has a planet that we can’t see directly, but because the star is so hot it is evaporating the planet, and we detect the atmosphere it is losing. There could be many cooler white dwarfs that have planets but lacking the high-energy photons necessary to drive evaporation, so we wouldn’t be able to find them with the same method,
This discovery is major progress because over the past two decades we had growing evidence that planetary systems survive into the white dwarf stage,
We’ve seen a lot of asteroids, comets and other small planetary objects hitting white dwarfs, and explaining these events requires larger, planet-mass bodies further out. Having evidence for an actual planet that itself was scattered in is an important step.
Finally, the astronomers have come with a huge success in finding the existence of new planets as well as the formation of new planets in Galaxy as other stars like Sun.