Life could exist on a planet orbiting a “white dwarf” star, scientists said this week.
What’s going on: Researchers said they may have found a planet that could sustain life since it exists within its star’s “habitable zone,” a term that refers to the space that often indicates conditions will be right for life.
- The planet, though, is close to a “white dwarf star,” which is a dying sun, according to BBC News.
Why this matters: “If confirmed, this would be the first time that a potentially life-supporting planet has been found orbiting such a star,” BBC News reports.
What they’re saying: “This is the first time that anything has been seen in the habitable zone of a white dwarf. And thus there is a possibility of life on another world orbiting it,” Jay Farihi, a professor at University College London, told BBC News.
Details: Scientists at the University College London spotted something that continues to pass in front of star WD 1054-226.
- The star is about 118 light-years away.
- The scientists said that the items passing the star might be cosmic debris or a comet-sized moon.
- On top of that, the cosmic debris is orbiting because there’s a “gravitational pull of a planet orbiting slightly further away from the star,” according to New Scientist.
- “However, it is important to keep in mind that more evidence is necessary to confirm the presence of a planet. We cannot observe the planet directly so confirmation may come by comparing computer models with further observations of the star and orbiting debris.”