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UT Astronomers Discover First Intact Planet Orbiting White Dwarf

  • Oct 9, 2020

Researchers led by Andrew Vanderburg, a visiting professor and researcher in the Department of Astronomy, have used NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) and retired Spitzer Space Telescope to discover what may be the first intact planet closely orbiting a white dwarf, the dense leftover of a sun-like star. The international team includes researchers from UT Austin, Spain, China, Switzerland, Germany, Canada, Denmark, Japan and the U.S.

The Jupiter-sized object, called WD 1856 b, is about seven times as large as the white dwarf, named WD 1856+534. Typically, the white dwarf creation process destroys nearby planets; the research team is currently theorizing why WD 1856 b did not meet this fate. A paper about the system, consisting of several co-authors including assistant professor of astronomy Caroline Morley and graduate research assistant Andreia Carillo, has been published in the science journal Nature. 

Read the full article from UT News