Discovered - Smallest star ever known in Universe, and it's slightly larger than Saturn

The star, called EBLM J0555–57Ab, is slightly bigger than Saturn and is located about 600 light-years from Earth and can be seen from the Southern Hemisphere, using a large telescope.

By Zee Media Bureau | Last Updated: Jul 12, 2017, 14:11 PM IST
Discovered - Smallest star ever known in Universe, and it's slightly larger than Saturn
Image credit: University of Cambridge

New Delhi: A team of astronomers has discovered the smallest star ever known in the galaxy, as per a study.

The star, called EBLM J0555–57Ab, is slightly bigger than Saturn and is located about 600 light-years from Earth and can be seen from the Southern Hemisphere, using a large telescope.

"Our discovery reveals how small stars can be," said Alexander Von Boetticher, the lead author of the study and a graduate student at the University of Cambridge in the UK.

"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."

Brown dwarfs are objects between the biggest gas giant planets and the smallest stars.

Astronomers say the star is probably as small as stars can be since it has just enough mass for the hydrogen fusion process to take place.

The star, which astronomers claim is part of a binary system as it orbits another much larger star, is not only small but much cooler than many of the gas giant exoplanets that have been discovered.

“This star is smaller, and likely colder, than many of the gas giant exoplanets that have so far been identified,” added Boetticher.

Exoplanets are planets in other solar systems other than ours.

The findings have been published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.