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This White Dwarf Star Has The Materials Needed For Life, Study Says

First Posted: Feb 10, 2017 04:53 AM EST
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A team of scientists discovered a white dwarf star that has the essentials for life such as carbon, nitrogen, oxygen and hydrogen, which are the components of water. It is about 200 lightyears away from the planet Earth and is located in the constellation Boötes.

The findings of the discovery were described in the Astrophysical Journal Letters. It was led by researchers at the UCLA. The team also found that this is the first time a white dwarf with nitrogen has been discovered, according to Phys.org.

The white dwarf star is referred to as WD 1425+540 and is found to have materials that are the basic building blocks for life, according to Benjamin Zuckerman, a co-author of the research and a UCLA professor of astronomy. "The findings indicate that some of the life's important preconditions are common in the Universe."

According to the researchers, there was this minor planet orbiting the white dwarf in the past 100,000 years or so, in which its trajectory was altered because of the gravitational pull of a planet in the same system. This caused the minor planet approached closely the white dwarf and destroyed the minor planet into gas and dust. The remnants then went into orbit around the white dwarf, and this eventually leads to the bringing and building blocks for life. The minor planet's mass was thought to have 30 percent water and other ices and 70 percent were rocky material.

Meanwhile, Zuckerman said that the study does not settle the question of whether life in the universe is common. He further said that first, you need an Earth-like world in its size, mass and at the proper distance from a star like the Sun. He added that astronomers still have not found a planet that matches those criteria.

Dwarf stars are main sequence stars that are small and have low luminosity. They are thought to be much brighter than the Sun, or much fainter. The dwarf stars referred to those fainters. Meanwhile, the giants are those brighter than the Sun. The dwarf stars also expanded to red dwarfs, brown dwarfs, white dwarfs, blue dwarfs, orange dwarfs, yellow dwarfs and black dwarfs. A white dwarf star has electron-degenerate matter.

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