Which planet was saved from being swallowed by a star (and how it’s explained)

BBC News Science Reporter

image source, Getty Images


Scientists believe that a giant red star should have devoured the planet known as 8 Ursae Minoris b, in the Milky Way.

The planet called “8 Ursae Minoris b” is a mystery to scientists.

Not because of its structure or composition, but because it must have died before it was first seen in the Milky Way in 2015.

The logical thing is that it was swallowed by a dying star in its orbit.

But now researchers believe they have discovered how 8 Ursae Minoris b escaped this fate.

Their study indicates that it was saved by the fact that the dying star had a companion Stop the first expansionWhich prevented him from “swallowing” the planet.

“No planetary system like this has ever been discovered before. This is a first, and it’s quite special,” explains astrophysicist Dimitri Veras of the University of Warwick, who assisted lead researcher Mark Hone of the University of Hawaii.

The results have been published in the scientific journal nature.

the key to your salvation

Scientists explain their theory using the example of the fate of our solar system.

The Earth and other nearby planets revolve around the Sun, a star filled with fiery gases.

The sun is now called yellow dwarf And it burns hydrogen, but someday it will start to die.

When that happens, it will become red giant will expand greatly, Mercury, Venus, and possibly Earth are consumed.

image source, Getty Images


In its final phase, the Sun will become a giant red star that will end up engulfing Mercury, Venus, and possibly Earth.

But a nearby star appears to have saved the planet, explains Mark Hohn, who made the observations with the TESS space telescope.

Scientists They believe that the planet was orbiting two stars They were at different stages in their lives.

One was a red giant burning hydrogen until it became so hot that its helium core ignited and began to contract. This is a process already proven in other cases.

The other was an older star, a helium-burning white dwarf.

Researchers believe that the red giant’s helium core ignited when it engulfed its companion star, prematurely halting its vigorous expansion.

Then 8 Ursae Minoris b was saved to continue orbiting the merged star.

“The idea for the binary star merger came from putting together a puzzle,” Hone explains.

After making notes, he worked with theorist Dimitri Veras and a group of Almost 40 scientists To find possible explanations for the survival of the planet.

Another theory Scientists have suggested that this planet It was formed from material violently ejected from the merger of the two stars.

But they say this is more of a speculative idea.

“Most stars are in binary systems, but we still don’t fully understand how planets can form around them,” Hone explains.

He concluded, “It is plausible that many unusual planetary systems exist due to the influence of binary companions.”

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Aileen Morales

"Beer nerd. Food fanatic. Alcohol scholar. Tv practitioner. Writer. Troublemaker. Falls down a lot."

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