In the past three decades, almost 4,000 planet-like objects have been discovered orbiting isolated stars outside the Solar System (exoplanets). Beginning in 2011, it was possible to use NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope to observe the first exoplanets in orbit around young binary systems of two live stars with hydrogen still burning in their core.
Brazilian astronomers have now found the first evidence of the existence of an exoplanet orbiting an older or more evolved binary in which one of the two stars is dead.
The study resulted from a postdoctoral research project and a research internship abroad, both with scholarships from São Paulo Research Foundation – FAPESP. Its findings have just been published in the Astronomical Journal, owned by the American Astronomical Society (AAS).
Leonardo Andrade de Almeida (https://bv.fapesp.br/en/pesquisador/265214/leonardo-andrade-de-almeida), first author of the article, told as follow: “We succeeded in obtaining pretty solid evidence of the existence of a giant exoplanet with a mass almost 13 times that of Jupiter [the largest planet in the Solar System] in an evolved binary system. This is the first confirmation of an exoplanet in a system of this kind.”
Almeida is currently a postdoctoral fellow of the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN), having conducted postdoctoral research at the University of São Paulo’s Institute of Astronomy, Geophysics and Atmospheric Sciences (IAG-USP), where he was supervised by Professor Augusto Damineli, a co-author of the study.
Clues followed by the researchers to discover the exoplanet in the evolved binary called KIC 10544976, located in the Cygnus constellation in the northern…