Science

Dwarf Star Might Have Life Building Blocks

By Rodney Rafols , Feb 11, 2017 01:33 AM EST
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Dwarf stars are numerous in space. Many elements make up a star, though for the first time astronomers have found a dwarf star that has the elements for life in it. A dwarf star might have life building blocks, as a study shows.

Researchers from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) have found a dwarf star that has elements that could be the building blocks of life. These elements are nitrogen and carbon, two elements that are necessary for life. The white dwarf is about 200 light years away from Earth.

The dwarf star that is being studied has a planetary system as well. The star is known as WD 1425+540. Its atmosphere is rich with carbon and nitrogen, as explained by study co-author and professor of Astronomy Benjamin Zuckerman. He said that the planetary system that is with the star most likely also has the elements on it.

The elements came from a minor planet that has strayed close to the star. The orbit of the minor planet was likely altered, causing it to come too close to the star. The star's gravity then tore the minor planet apart. Gases and dust were all that remained of the minor planet, and later on those fell on the star. Nitrogen and carbon then became part of the star because of it.

The events that happened to the dwarf star was only recent. The researchers estimate that those happened only 100,000 years ago, according to the UCLA Newsroom. In galactic terms, that time would have been fairly recent. The minor planet was also likely made up of 30 percent ice and water, with 70 percent of it being rock,

The study also confirms that there are bodies much like what is found in the solar system's Kuiper Belt, as Science Daily reports. Astronomers have wondered whether such bodies also exist in other star systems. The study shows that the possibility is there for such bodies to exist.

With the evidence found on WD 1425+540, the chance of finding life on other planets has become more possible. The dwarf star might have life building blocks, which makes life on other planets possible. A study has also found that a white dwarf has recently ripped a comet apart.

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