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The white dwarf KPD 0005+5106 seen in X-ray. Photo: NASA/CXC/ASIAA/Y.-H. Chu, et al.

A white dwarf star 1,300 light-years from Earth is blasting out radiation and ripping apart a companion in its orbit.

Why it matters: One day, scientists think the Sun will burn through its fuel and become a dense white dwarf. By learning more about this star, astronomers might be able to get a better sense of the future of our solar system.

What's happening: A study in The Astrophysical Journal suggests the white dwarf KPD 0005+5106 actually plays host to a companion — either a low-mass star or a planet.

  • Researchers think X-ray data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and ESA's XMM-Newton suggests the white dwarf's companion could be a planet with half of the mass of Jupiter.
  • That planet's material is being pulled from the world into the atmosphere of the white dwarf and it would only survive for "a few hundred million years before eventually being destroyed," according to a press release.
  • "This is a slow demise for this object that's basically being ripped apart by constant gravitational forces," Martín A. Guerrero, of the Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia in Spain, and an author of the study said in the statement. "It would be a very unpleasant place to be."

The big picture: The white dwarf is actually one of the hottest known white dwarf stars, with a surface temperature of 360,000°F. (The Sun's temperature is about 10,000°F, for comparison.)

  • "This companion object is about 500,000 miles away from the white dwarf, only about one-thirtieth of the distance from Mercury to the Sun," Jesús Toala of the National Autonomous University of Mexico, and a co-author of the study, said in the statement.
  • "Whatever this object is, it's getting blasted with heat."

Go deeper

18 mins ago - World

Scoop: Iran preparing to enrich weapons-grade uranium, Israel warns U.S.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi holds a press conference. Photo: Presidency of Iran handout via Getty

Israel has shared intelligence over the past two weeks with the U.S. and several European allies suggesting that Iran is taking technical steps to prepare to enrich uranium to 90% purity — the level needed to produce a nuclear weapon, two U.S. sources briefed on the issue tell me.

Why it matters: Enriching to 90% would bring Iran closer than ever to the nuclear threshold. The Israeli warnings come as nuclear talks resume in Vienna, with Iran returning to the negotiating table on Monday after a five-month hiatus.

Biden: Fight against Omicron won't include "shutdowns or lockdowns"

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden on Monday said that the new coronavirus variant, Omicron, is "a cause for concern, not a cause for panic."

Driving the news: Biden said later this week the administration will be releasing a strategy on how "we're going to fight COVID this winter. Not with shutdowns or lockdowns, but with more widespread vaccinations, boosters, testing and more."

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: WHO says Omicron poses "very high" risk — Fauci says Omicron variant will "inevitably" be found in U.S. — U.S. restricts air travel from 8 countries over Omicron concerns.
  2. Politics: Biden says fight against Omicron won't include "shutdowns or lockdowns."
  3. States: New York declares state of emergency amid concerns over Omicron.
  4. World: Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating worldWHO warns against travel bans on southern African countries — First North American Omicron cases identified in Canada.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.