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Alien Worlds Could Circle Dying White Dwarf Stars

Scientists may be searching for Earth-like worlds around stars like our sun, but a new study suggests that the best places to look for planets that can support life may be the dying stars called white dwarfs. Full story

Don't rule out life on those 'dead stars' just yet

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Double stars likely to merge with a bang

Astronomers have discovered a dozen previously unknown double-star systems, each on a course to end in spectacular explosions detonated by the crash between their two small, dense stars. Full story

Surprise discovery: Two planets, two stars, one system

Two massive Jupiter-like planets were recently discovered orbiting around two extremely close sister stars an unexpected find, given the disturbing gravitational effects within most binary star systems that usually disrupt planets from forming. Full story

New kind of gamma-ray star blast discovered

An unexpected and powerful new kind of star explosion has been discovered in the heavens: a so-called gamma-ray nova that radiates the most energetic form of light in the universe. Full story

Largest molecules ever known in space found

Astronomers have found evidence of buckyballs — carbon molecules shaped like soccer balls — in the nebula around a distant white dwarf star. The discovery marks the largest molecules known to exist in space. Full story

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Articles

Astronomers hunt for ticking time bomb stars

Polluted stars suggest other Earth-like worlds

Orbiting stars circle each other in minutes

What makes supernovas go boom

Vampire star is a ticking time bomb

‘White dwarf’ stars may signal missing link

Anatomy of a dying star

Can life on Earth escape the swelling sun?

‘Whole Earth Telescope’ spies white dwarf

Dead stars once hosted solar systems

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Digital sky survey
Digital sky survey

Sloan Digital Sky Survey spectroscopy of this inconspicuous blue object — SDSS1102+2054 — reveals it to be an extremely rare stellar remnant: a white dwarf with an oxygen-rich atmosphere.

Simulated death of white dwarf
Simulated death of white dwarf

A simulation of a star's final hours may help scientists uncover what triggers its death. The program simulated the death of a white dwarf , which is a compact remnant of a star similar to our sun.

This artist's concept illustrates a dead star, or white dwarf, surrounded by the bits and pieces of a disintegrating asteroid. The scene suggests the raw material for planets like Earth are common. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
This artist's concept illustrates a dead star, or white dwarf, surrounded by the bits and pieces of a disintegrating asteroid. The scene suggests the raw material for planets like Earth are common. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

This artist's concept illustrates a dead star, or white dwarf, surrounded by the bits and pieces of a disintegrating asteroid. The scene suggests the raw material for planets like Earth are common. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech