Barkers who claim to be able to see your future. There are quite a few. But this time it’s astronomers quite serious which suggest that we take a leap into the future. To see what will be the future of our Solar system. Rest assured, they don’t claim to have developed a time machine. They have simply flushed out a planetary system that looks exactly like the fate expected for our Solar system. To what it will be when our Soleil will reach the end of his life. In some 5 billion years.
By effect of gravitational microlens which occurs when a star close to Earth momentarily aligns with a more distant star, they discovered a giant planet. Including the mass is about 40% higher than that of our Jupiter. And when they left in search of its host star, surprise! This one did not shine enough to be a star of what astronomers call the main sequence.
The data quickly enabled them to rule out that the host from this exoplanet giant could be a woman brune, a neutron star or a black hole. Then there was only one possibility left. Jupiter’s twin planet must revolve around a white dwarf. A dead star. Located near the center of Milky Way.
Recall that when a main sequence star, like our Sun, burned all thehydrogen of its nucleus, it passes through a stage called red giant. Then she collapses on herself. She shrinks until she becomes a white dwarf. A dense and warm star remnant. The size of the Earth, but twice as massive as our Star! A remainder difficult to observe for the astronomers, because very weakly luminous.
The researchers’ discovery constitutes proof that planets in orbit far enough from their star, may very well survive after its “death”. “Thus, Jupiter and Saturn could escape the end of life of our Sun. The future of Earth is more uncertain. Our Planet is much closer to the Sun ”, remarks David Bennett, researcher at the University of Maryland (United States), in a communicated. “If humanity wanted to move to a moon of Jupiter or Saturn before the Sun engulfs the Earth during its phase of red supergiant, we would still remain in orbit around the Sun, although we could no longer rely on the heat of the Sun once it has transformed into a white dwarf. “
Researchers are counting on the future télescope spatial Nancy Grace Roman which should be launched in 2025 to get more information on this kind of planetary systems. The main objective of this instrument, which will work in the infrared, is in fact to directly image giant exoplanets. By studying the planets orbiting white dwarfs in the central region of our Galaxy, the telescope should allow astronomers if it is common for Jupiter-like planets to escape their star’s last days, or if a significant fraction of them are destroyed by the time their host stars become red giants.