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Tiny Star, Smallest Ever Discovered, Could Have Earth-Like Planets


· 每日跟讀單元 Daily English

Astronomers have identified the smallest star ever discovered in the Universe and said that it could help in the search for Earth-like planets that may have the potential for life.


The star is located 600 light years away and is just larger than Saturn. The radius of Saturn is around 9.5 times that of Earth, but stars are generally much larger than planets.


Named EBLM J0555-57Ab, the newly-identified star has a gravitational pull around 300 times stronger than that on Earth. Its radius is 8.4 percent and mass 8.1 percent the size of that of the Sun.

這顆命名為「EBLM J0555-57Ab」的新辨識恆星,引力比地球強約300倍。它的半徑是太陽的8.4%,質量則為太陽的8.1%。

It is likely that the newly-identified star is as small as a star can possibly become. Stars require a certain level of mass to enable hydrogen fusion to take place at their cores.


Were the star in question to be any smaller, it would not likely have the requisite mass to sustain the nuclear fusion. It would have instead become a brown dwarf, celestial objects that are bigger than giant planets but smaller than the smallest stars and emit infrared radiation, said Alexander Boetticher of the University of Cambridge, the lead author of the study.


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