Astronomers discovered a giant planet that survived the death of its star. It survived after the star died

Astronomers discovered a giant planet that survived the death of its star. It survived after the sta ...

Our sun has a time limit. It'll be around 5 billion years before it's complete. What will our solar system look like after the sun's death? Astronomers have discovered a distant solar system that offers insight into the fate of the planets in ours. Earth will most likely be hit, but Jupiter may survive.

A study published Wednesday in the journal Nature examines a Jupiter-like planet in oblivion around shattered white dwarf star. The system is located near the center of the Milky Way and its discovery via the W. M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii suggests that some of our own planets may continue to exist even after our star goes through its inevitable end-of-life tantrum in the far distant future.

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Joshua Blackman, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Tasmania in Australia, said, "This study shows that planets orbiting at incredibly high distances can survive after their star's death." Given that this system is an analog to our own solar system, it suggests that Jupiter and Saturn may survive the sun's red giant phase, when it runs out of nuclear fuel and self-destructs.

When our sun dies, it is expected to undergo a number of phases. It will become a red giant, describing it as "the most violent time in saturn's history." This is when Earth will take a beating and be uninhabited and most likely destroyed.

Next up, the sun will descend into white dwarf form as a dying star that is cooling and fading. That's the star around which the astronomers observed the Jupiter-like planet orbiting. Keck Observatory shared a video clip of what that distant solar system and survivor planet may have experienced.

Co-author David Bennett of the University of Maryland and NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center suggested a move to astride Jupiter and Saturn may be worth considering. That assumes that humankind is still alive. It also means that our long-term goals for interplanetary life should include a look at some of Jupiter's tempting moons, such as Europa, the target of an upcoming NASA mission.

Moving to Jupiter's neighborhood wouldn't solve all of our problems. As Bennett observed, "...we wouldn't be able to depend on the sun's heat as a white dwarf for very long."

Some previous studies, such as a 2020 paper that described soaring planets that escaped destruction by their own star, have shown that survival is possible despite these stars' tendencies to go out in blaze of glory. Scientists are still trying to figure out how common or rare this may be.

Our sun's demise isn't a pressing issue for humanity, but it'd be ok to plan ahead. An extremely optimistic, sci-fi-inspired vision may see a far-forward human civilization reaching out to live beyond Earth and Mars and even Jupiter, but also into other solar systems long before our planet becomes toast.

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