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Astronomers find ‘smallest ever’ star

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  • Astronomers find ‘smallest ever’ star

    Twinkle, twinkle - astronomers find ‘smallest ever’ star

    Rob Waugh
    Yahoo News UK13 July 2017

    View photos University of CambridgeMore
    Our own sun is 330,000 times the weight of our planet, and so big that more than a million Earths could fit inside it – but not every star is quite so large.

    Astronomers at the University of Cambridge have discovered the smallest star ever measured – and probably about the smallest there is.

    The planet is just a shade bigger than Saturn – and its gravity is only 300 times stronger than what we feel on Earth.

    The newly-measured star, called EBLM J0555-57Ab, is located about six hundred light years away.

    The star is likely as small as stars can possibly become, as it has just enough mass to enable the fusion of hydrogen nuclei into helium – the fusion which powers the Sun.
    View photos
    If it were any smaller, the pressure at the centre of the star would no longer be sufficient to
    enable this process to take place.

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    These small dim stars could be good candidates for detecting Earth-sized planets which can have liquid water on their surfaces, such as TRAPPIST-1 an ultracool dwarf surrounded by seven temperate Earth-sized worlds.

    It is part of a binary system, and was identified as it passed in front of its much larger companion, a method which is usually used to detect planets, not stars.

    ‘Our discovery reveals how small stars can be,’ said Alexander Boetticher, the lead author of the study, and a Master’s student at Cambridge’s Cavendish Laboratory and Institute of Astronomy.

    ‘Had this star formed with only a slightly lower mass, the fusion reaction of hydrogen in its core could not be sustained, and the star would instead have transformed into a brown dwarf.’

  • #2
    I found this interesting that there are stars the size of Saturn and have enough mass to burn hydrogen in fusion.

    Of course this star is close to the diameter of Saturn but it has far more mass. Gravity will crush any object until the force of gravity is equaled by some force opposing it. The more mass an object has, gives gravity more force to crush it.

    This tiny star has a mass about equal to 85 times the mass of Jupiter. So you can see that gravity crushed the hydrogen down to the size of Saturn and crushed the hydrogen so hard that it made the hydrogen fuse together into helium.

    The creation of The Lord Jesus is full of really amazing things.