back to article Oldest white dwarf star catches amateur's eye – and its dusty ring leaves boffins baffled

An amateur astronomer has discovered the oldest-known white dwarf star, sitting 145 light years away from Earth in the Capricornus constellation. Melina Thévenot volunteered to help NASA hunt for brown dwarfs by analysing grainy images of candidate stars taken by the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) telescope as part …

  1. This post has been deleted by its author

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They never make the connection between magnetic fields, radiation belts and rings. A strong enough magnetic field around a body will suck ionised gas into a ring about it. The gas will drag dust with it, because that's what plasma tend to do. Whit dwarfs have some of the more powerful magnetic field out there, do the fact that this one we can see up close has a ring should not be remotely a surprise.

    1. Paul Kinsler

      They never make the connection between

      Interesting. Have you published this somewhere so we can see the arguments laid out clearly?

    2. Saruman the White

      However there is no evidence to suggest that white dwarfs have a magnetic field string enough to do what you suggest; in fact the evidence to date says that whire dwarg magnetic fields are no stronger than that of the parent star.

      Could you be thinking of neutron stars that do have strong magnetic fields (at least when they are relatively young)?

      1. Mage Silver badge

        Re: whire dwarg

        "whire dwarg magnetic fields are no stronger than that of the parent star."

        J0207 is a star. What is a "whire dwarg" and has J0207 got one hiding near the rings?

        1. Mage Silver badge

          Re: whire dwarg

          Yes, I know it's probably just a dodgy touch keyboard or someone typing in the dark.

  3. Gob Smacked



    > You don't want a white dwarf squeezing anything past dusty rings around Uranus

    Cheap... did smile though... :)

    1. DJV Silver badge

      Please don't encourage the troll!

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  4. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

    Oldest white dwarf star

    Jervis Johnson?

  5. Christoph Silver badge

    Not the " oldest-known white dwarf star", but as mentioned later "almost three times older than any other white dwarf known to have a dusty disk around it."

    White dwarfs without a ring can be much older.

    Gliese 223.2 is only 21 light years away ad is nearly 8 billion years old. The oldest known white dwarfs are around 12 billion years old.

    1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

      Re: White dwarfs without a ring can be much older.

      But god loved this one so much that he put a ring on it.

    2. MJB7 Bronze badge

      Re: oldest white dwarfs

      12 billion years! If someone finds one a couple of billion years older than that, there are going to be some very upset cosmologists!

      1. Graham Dawson

        Re: oldest white dwarfs

        They're already upset. They keep finding structurally mature galaxies too early in the history of the universe to be accounted for by current standard theories. It's created a bit of an ongoing stir in astronomical circles. Interesting to see what pops out.

        1. Graham Cunningham

          Re: oldest white dwarfs

          Science! :)

          1. Little Mouse

            Re: oldest white dwarfs

            ...or Magic!

        2. Scroticus Canis Silver badge

          Re: oldest white dwarfs - "Interesting to see what pops out."

          Stop feeding 89724102172714182...etc... opening lines. Next someone will mention Urectum.... oops!

  6. John Mangan

    Genuine Question

    When articles such as these show an 'artist's conception' I often find myself wondering - how well versed are said artists in astronomical phenomena?

    Have they just been told 'there's a shiny bit in the middle and kind of a cloud around it' or do they actually know something about the subject?

    1. Francis Boyle Silver badge

      Re: Genuine Question

      I'd imagine it's the same deal as with science journalists – some just regurgitate press releases – others actually make the effort to educate themselves about the subject they're reporting on.

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