A giant object has been discovered orbiting a dead star and cannot be identified

Dmytro IvancheskulLife
The temperature on the illuminated part of the failed star reaches almost 7760 degrees Celsius. Source: Illustrative photo

Astronomers have discovered a supermassive object WD 0032-317b orbiting a dead star, which is either the largest brown dwarf seen before or the smallest of the stars. Despite this scientific uncertainty, it may help us understand how the atmospheres of gas giants work.

The researchers reported their discovery in a paper published in the scientific journal Nature Astronomy. The found rogue star is significantly hotter than our Sun.

The discovered object belongs to the class of "super-hot Jupiters", these are giant exoplanets orbiting very close to massive, hot stars. It is because of this proximity to the luminary that scientists often find it very difficult to detect such objects, as their faint infrared light is lost in the bright glare of the stars around which they orbit.

That's why Weizmann Institute astronomer Naama Hallakun and her colleagues were very excited to see this giant near a dead star.

WD 0032-317b is much more massive than ordinary brown dwarfs (self-luminous objects that are neither a planet nor a star), but it is also too small to be a star. Nevertheless, Hallakoon is convinced that this object could be useful for studying the atmospheres of ordinary giant planets orbiting near large, bright stars.

WD 0032-317b has 75-88 times more mass than Jupiter, but in size only a few times larger than the giant of our solar system. Such indicators, as scientists note, may indicate that the object, like real stars, may be able to run thermonuclear fusion of hydrogen in the core. Astronomers call such objects failed stars, or planet-overgrowths.

The star near which WD 0032-317b is located is a still-burning white dwarf (low-luminosity star). As the researchers hypothesize, the star shed its outer layers only about a million years ago.

Due to its proximity to the dead star, scientists were also able to determine the temperature of the rogue star. Because the giant is very close to its luminosity, the white dwarf constantly illuminates one side of it, leaving the other in constant darkness. An infrared telescope revealed that the illuminated side of the giant glows with a heat of nearly 7,760 degrees Celsius, which is hotter than our Sun, whose surface temperature reaches 6,000 degrees Celsius.

At the same time, the temperature of the night side is only about 1648 degrees Celsius.

The reason for this is that the white dwarf emits as much radiation to the near side of WD 0032-317b as the largest and hottest stars in the universe would emit to giant planets like Jupiter.

This huge temperature difference is of great interest to Hallakoon and his colleagues, who are interested in studying how the atmosphere moves heat. To do this, they intend to watch the rogue star disappear behind its dead star and measure the spectrum of light that the atmosphere will emit and absorb on the night and day sides.

This will give them some clues about how Jupiter's hot atmosphere works.

Earlier OBOZREVATEL also told about the fact that scientists managed to shoot a video of the 17-year journey of an exoplanet around its star.

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