Until now, hunting for the planet Nine has escaped the searchers, but a citizen citizen working on a project to find the evasive celestial body has discovered an equally remarkable element: a dwarf star aged 3 billion. years surrounded by rings of dust.
German scientist Melina Thévenot made this discovery while working on NASA's Backyard Worlds: Planet 9 project. Known as LSPM J0207 + 3331 or J0207, the former dwarf star was originally thought to be a cold brown dwarf, said Adam Schneider, a researcher at Arizona State University, but that eventually revealed to be something more.
"When Melina conducted further investigation, she found that even though the object had a significant infrared brightness, it was not a brown dwarf nearby," Schneider said. in a statement. "The team looked at the situation together and we determined that it was probably a white dwarf with an infrared excess."
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The rings are probably made up of hot dusts, consisting of the almost continuous fragmentation of other "small planetesimals rocky" gravitating around the dwarf, the statement said. However, due to the age of J0207 and its cold temperature, the rings remain a mystery.
"Oddly enough, the moderately infrared photometry of the disc can not be fully explained by an optically thick and geometrically thin dust disc as seen for other dusty white dwarfs, but requires a second ring of dust close to the radius of White Dwarf Rock, "sums up the bed study.
The study was published in the Letters from the Astrophysical Journal.
John Debes, white dwarf expert, astronomer at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, said that everything that feeds the rings into materials operates on "time scales of one billion dollars". ; years. "
"Most of the models that scientists have created to explain the rings around white dwarfs only work up to about 100 million years ago, so this star challenges our assumptions about how planetary systems evolve, "said Debes.
It is also possible that the J0207 disc contains more than one "distinct ring-shaped component", which has never been seen before with a white dwarf, which leads scientists to wonder how it is. integrates with everything that has been known before. white dwarfs.
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Further research is needed, some of which will use NASA's James Webb space telescope to determine exactly what the ring is made of.