Surviving a star’s demise: Discovery adds proof of planetary resilience

Astronomers have discovered a Jupiter-sized planet that survived its star’s death. Known as MOA-2010-BLG-477Lb, the planet orbits a white dwarf some 6,500 light years from here, potentially offering a glimpse into our cosmic future. The researchers reported the new discovery in the journal, Nature.

Lisa Kaltenegger, who was not involved in the study, is director of Cornell’s Carl Sagan Institute and one of the world’s leading experts on exoplanets. Kaltenegger was part of a research team that reported the first planet ever discovered around a white dwarf, and says the latest findings add proof that planets can survive their star’s death – while raising intriguing questions about the prospects of life.

“The news of another planet found circling a white dwarf is exciting, offering additional proof that planets exist around dead stars after our paper last year reported on the first one ever found," said Kaltenegger, associate professor of astronomy in the College of Arts & Sciences.

“If planets can survive their star's demise, could life as well? The James Webb Space Telescope, launching soon, could very well answer the question.

“If life could survive even on planets circling stellar corpses, that would make for an amazing future of our cosmos.”

For media inquiries, contact Becka Bowyer, (607) 220-4185,

More news

Lisa Kaltenegger, founding director of the Carl Sagan Institute
Lisa Kaltenegger, founding director of the Carl Sagan Institute at Cornell University. “I think a lot of people might not be so aware of where we are right now, and that they are living in this momentous time in history,” she said. “We can all be a part of it.” Heather Ainsworth for The New York Times

She Dreams of Pink Planets and Alien Dinosaurs

View all news
		Four lines of light radiating out from a white dwarf star on a blue background.