APR 30, 2022 10:15 AM PDT

Dying Stars Can Give Birth to Planets too

WRITTEN BY: Amanpreet Kaur

It has been known for ages that the Earth orbits around the Sun along with 7 more planets and dwarf planets among many other objects. However, in 1992 the first planet outside of our solar system was found. This planet is called M51-ULS-1b and was found to be orbiting a star called 51 Pegasi about 28 million light-years away from us, i.e., the light from the system takes 28 million years to reach us. For comparison, it takes only 8 minutes for light to reach us from our Sun. Since then, astronomers have found about 5000 exoplanets around different stars. Some of these planets have been found around binary stars and triple systems. Overall, studies suggest that at least 20% of the Sun-like stars host planets, and overall, about 40% of stars in our Galaxy have planets around them. 

The big question is: How do all these planets form, including the ones in our solar system? It has been well established that these planets form almost at the same time as their star. A star is formed from a lot of dust and gas which are collapsed together under their gravitational pull on each other. At one point, the center of this collapsed material becomes so hot (~ million degrees) that nuclear reactions can happen and that forms the core of the star. During this early phase of star formation, a lot of dust and gas is still out there orbiting this star in the shape of a disk. In this disk, smaller amounts of dust and gas start collapsing together, but the temperatures never get hot enough to initiate nuclear reactions. These disks are called protoplanetary disks and are often found around very young stars. It is believed that all the planets in our solar system were formed from a protoplanetary disk around the Sun. This is also the reason that almost all of these planets orbit in almost the same plane.

Recently, a team of astronomers led by Jacques Kluska from KU Lueven, Belgium conducted a survey of binary stars to find evidence of planets while making sure that at least one star which was evolved or proceeded to a later stage in its life. During this dying phase, stars expand and shed a lot of dust and gas, which could lead to the formation of protoplanetary disks. These disks, as we know, lead to planet formation. The researchers found evidence of protoplanetary disks in the planet-forming phase in about 10% of the evolved binaries in their survey. 

They term the planets formed in this phase as second-generation planets. There is a known binary system of dead stars called NN Ser which has two exoplanets, thus supporting the results of this research. If future observations confirm a planet around a dying star, it will revolutionize the field of planet formation as a lot of the current understanding will need modification. 

 

Source: Astronomy & Astrophysics JournalScience Daily

About the Author
PhD in Physics
Aman (she/her) is a scientific writer at labroots and an astrophysics researcher at Penn State University. She works in the field of high-energy astrophysics such as black holes, gamma-rays, etc., and collects data from various space telescopes to conduct her research. She received her doctorate from Clemson University in Physics. On a personal note, she loves spending time out in nature; camping or hiking. If given a choice, she will decorate her house only with plants, did she say she likes plants? :D
You May Also Like
AUG 18, 2022
Space & Astronomy
Stars and Black Holes immediately after Big Bang
AUG 18, 2022
Stars and Black Holes immediately after Big Bang
In a recent study published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, a team of researchers from the Uni ...
AUG 22, 2022
Cell & Molecular Biology
DNA Binding Proteins Both Search & Bind Rapidly
AUG 22, 2022
DNA Binding Proteins Both Search & Bind Rapidly
Many different proteins can bind DNA, and they perform a variety of critical functions in cells. DNA-binding proteins of ...
SEP 06, 2022
Chemistry & Physics
New Evidence Expands Hypothesis About Neanderthal Paintings
SEP 06, 2022
New Evidence Expands Hypothesis About Neanderthal Paintings
In a 2021 study published in PNAS, an international team of researchers suggest that cave paintings found in Cueva de Ar ...
SEP 08, 2022
Chemistry & Physics
Boiling Away Forever Chemicals
SEP 08, 2022
Boiling Away Forever Chemicals
Forever chemicals are in hot water. In a paper published on August 18 in Science, researchers at the University of Calif ...
SEP 24, 2022
Space & Astronomy
The James Webb Space Telescope Observes Neptune and its Rings
SEP 24, 2022
The James Webb Space Telescope Observes Neptune and its Rings
The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has captured its first image of Neptune, and it is the clearest view of the planet ...
SEP 30, 2022
Chemistry & Physics
Paper About Room Temperature Superconductivity Retracted from Nature
SEP 30, 2022
Paper About Room Temperature Superconductivity Retracted from Nature
Nature has retracted a groundbreaking paper demonstrating superconductivity at room temperature. We’ve written abo ...
Loading Comments...