Last blasts of a dying star

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A white dwarf star 1,300 light-years from Earth is blasting radiation and ripping off a companion in its orbit.

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why it matters: One day, scientists think the Sun will burn out of its fuel and become a dense white dwarf. By learning more about this star, astronomers may be able to gain a better understanding of the future of our solar system.

What are you saying: a Study In The Astrophysical Journal The white dwarf KPD 0005+5106 actually hosts a companion – either a low-mass star or a planet.

  • Researchers think X-ray data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and ESA’s XMM-Newton suggest that the white dwarf’s companion may be up to half the mass of Jupiter.
  • That planet’s material is being pulled from the world into the white dwarf’s atmosphere and will only survive “a few hundred million years before it is finally destroyed,” according to one Press release,
  • “It’s a slow death for this object that’s basically being pulled apart by constant gravitational forces,” said Martin A. of the Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia in Spain. Guerrero, and an author of the study, said in the statement. “It would be a very unpleasant place.”

big picture: The white dwarf is actually one of the best-known white dwarf stars, with a surface temperature of 360,000°F. (The temperature of the Sun for comparison is about 10,000°F.)

  • “This companion object is about 500,000 miles from the white dwarf, which is only one-thirtieth of the distance from Mercury to the Sun,” said Jess Tola of the National Autonomous University of Mexico and a co-author of the study. Statement.
  • “Whatever this thing is, it is being destroyed by heat.”


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