There Could Be Chances of Life on a Planet Orbiting a ‘White Dwarf’ Star, Study Says

If researchers are to be believed, there could be a planet that could harbor life, close to a dying sun. The planet could be orbiting a dying sun 117 light-years from Earth, the researchers say.

Once the news is confirmed, it will be the first time that a life-bearing planet has been discovered orbiting a “white dwarf”.

White dwarfs are dead stars that have been burned up by hydrogen.

Published in the Royal Astronomical Society’s Monthly Notices, it says the planet was detected after researchers spotted a ring of debris as well as moon-sized structures near the dying star. It was detected in a “habitable zone”.

It is in this zone that water can exist and it is neither too cold nor too hot.

The planet is thought to be 60 times closer to the star than Earth is to the sun.

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Professor Jay Farihi of University College London led the study. He claimed the discovery was completely new to astronomers. Speaking to the BBC, he said: “This is the first time anything has been seen in the habitable zone of a white dwarf. And so there is the possibility of life on another orbiting world.”

For the moment, researchers do not have concrete proof of the existence of the planet.

They claim that the movements of 65 moon-sized structures orbiting the white dwarf’s habitable zone suggest its existence.

Professor Farihi said: “It was a shock to the team. The movement was so eerily precise that you couldn’t make this stuff up.”

(With agency contributions)

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