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Astronomers Discover Smallest Star Ever Detected

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A group of astronomers conducting for a search for planets outside our solar system have discovered the smallest star ever recorded.

The astronomer team, led by Frederic Pont of Switzerland’s Geneva Observatory, were guided to this discovery while using the Very Large Telescope in Chile. According to the New Scientist

They used the telescope to study the spectrum of the larger star, which wobbles back and forth because of gravitational tugs from the smaller object. The relatively puny body weighed in at 96 times Jupiter’s mass – above the threshold of 75 Jupiter-masses required for a bona fide star, which must also burn hydrogen. (if it IS a star, shouldn’t it be burning hydrogen? If it is, could this not be seen?)

“This is the first time we find a star that has a radius comparable to a planet,” says team member Claudio Melo of the European Southern Observatory in Santiago, Chile.

Most of the 145 planets discovered beyond our solar system have been found by these gravitational wobbles, a technique that provides an estimate of their masses. So Melo says their status as planets is not in doubt.

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Astronomers Discover Smallest Star Ever Detected
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