Can life arise next to a white dwarf?


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When the life of a star comes to its logical end, it finally shows a real space show before her death, which is then reduced and then enlarged. Observations of sun-like stars show that after about 5 billion years, our star changes into a red giant, which almost approaches the earth and absorbs Mercury and Venus. Following the ritual of "cosmic cannibalism", the sun completely drops its outer shell into space and surrounds its core – the future white dwarf – with a planetary nebula. But what will happen then? Can any hypothetical life arise on the ruins of the solar system?

Sooner or later, our sun awaits the fate of the White Dwarf

Life is next to the white dwarf

As mentioned above, white dwarfs are the remnants of small stars whose mass was insufficient to turn into a neutron star or a black hole. It is known that the nearest White Dwarf to our solar system is the star Sirius B, which is located at a distance of 8.6 light-years from us. Despite the fact that no planetary objects were found near Sirius B, scientists believe that living near the exposed core of the Red Giant is well possible compared to our Sun because of the much longer life of such a small object. Researchers believe that a potentially inhabited planet illuminated by the light of a white dwarf should be 100 times less than Earth away from the sun. But how can an inhabited world emerge so short a distance when the turbulent past of the Red Giant, which until recently was a seemingly innocuous White Dwarf, should capture most of its own planets? The fact is that in the destruction of objects surrounding a given star, their residual gas and dust can eventually form the so-called "second generation" planets capable of migrating to the White Dwarf after their appearance. It is well known that most of the discovered white dwarfs contain a large amount of heavy materials, indicating the presence of rocky planets orbiting their miniature stars.

See also: Using the Hubble telescope, astronomers were able to discover the "killing" of a white dwarf megacometre

Life can arise on planets next to white dwarfs

For the first time, the probable presence of an exoplanet circling a white dwarf star was confirmed in 2018 when a unique object was found in the orbit of the dwarf star J122859.93 + 104032.9, which was later recognized as the core of the former planet. A special compound containing a large amount of iron and nickel could protect it from complete disintegration. The "Webb" telescope will soon be able to examine the found "planet" that can assess the possibility of having at least the simplest life on objects revolving around white dwarfs. Despite the fact that worlds of this type are constantly exposed to a high dose of X-ray or ultraviolet radiation, the researchers believe that the probability of finding an Earth-like planet in the vicinity of dwarf stars can be estimated at 1: 500, which is very good is result.

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