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This exoplanet-destroying white dwarf could predict the end of our solar system

Scientists have discovered evidence of a star system that could foreshadow the fate of our own.

When stars that are not massive enough to end their lifespan in a supernova become old, they turn into red giants, which ultimately drive out their fates Outer Matter Layer. This leaves a hot stellar corpse called a white dwarf, which weighs less than the sun but has only a small fraction of the radius. This will probably be the fate of our own sun. But what will our solar system look like at this point and what will happen to the planets? Perhaps the answer lies in a new observation that is the first evidence of a giant exoplanet surrounding a white dwarf.

Scientists have already begun to discover dust disks around white dwarves and evidence of rocky bodies termed planetesimals . This time, researchers in the UK, Chile, and Germany took a closer look at some white dwarfs in a system called J091

4 + 1914. This pair was first found in a sample of 7,000 white dwarfs taken from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. However, the wavelengths of the light coming from the system have resulted in materials that are not normally found in a pair of white dwarfs or even near a subset of "polluted" white dwarfs that indicate evidence of material falling on them.

The team then analyzed the system with a spectrograph called X-Shooter at the Very Large Telescope in Chile. These results showed abundance of hydrogen as well as evidence of oxygen and sulfur, which the star absorbs more than any other element. These elements were typically found on the giant ice planet in our own solar system, Neptune and Uranus.

Combined with the signature of the gas movement, the researchers felt that this was the best way to explain their observations was a huge planet orbiting close to the white dwarf, only 10 million kilometers away, and noisy the publication published in Nature was torn into a gas disk.

Maybe this exoplanet- If we eat the white dwarf system, our own solar system will look like this in the future: the predecessor of the red dwarf expands, engulfing the inner planets, leaving only the outer ice giant planets behind. From what we know about this exoplanet, he should have been too close to his star to survive the initial expansion. "Perhaps the planet has migrated there after the red giant has dissolved its outsides," said Boris Gänsicke, the first author of the study from the University of Warwick, to Gizmodo.

"This paper is exciting because it describes the discovery of a very unusual composition in a white dwarf star," said Johanna Teske, a postdoctoral fellow at Carnegie Institution for Science, to Gizmodo in an e-mail. She also said that the authors thoroughly ruled out other possible interpretations of their data. But she pointed out that she was surprised that the paper contained no information about the ultraviolet light that emitted the system, as this is the wavelength most commonly used to study white dwarfs .

And of course this is an indirect detection. Gänsicke told Gizmodo that his team had applied for the Hubble Space Telescope to look for more evidence for a planet orbiting this white dwarf. And maybe the planet has a detectable comet-like tail, he said.

This is just a white dwarf. The satellite Gaia has discovered 230,000 white dwarfs many of which may also be "polluted".

"There is a potential to discover not only more heavily polluted white dwarfs, but potentially greater diversity in their uncovering compositions," Teske said. Perhaps more of these systems show that they also contain remnants of the gas giant planet .

Maybe one day our own solar system will join this trial.

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