Astronomers have discovered what they say is the smallest star ever to be recorded by humanity. The star which has been named EBLM J0555-57Ab was discovered by a team of Cambridge University researchers. After a lot of calculations, astronomers determined that the star was just slightly bigger in size than Saturn. They also revealed that the gravitational pull of EBLM J0555-57Ab is 300 times that of the Earth.

Latest discovery by astronomers

PhysOrg news reported that Researchers were surprised to see that such a small star could exist in the universe.

They said that it is perhaps the smallest that a star can get without ceasing the fusion of hydrogen nuclei into helium. This chemical process is the essential part by which the star produces the energy and heat which these celestial bodies are known to generate. This is the process which takes place in the Sun as well and researchers are trying to replicate this method in the laboratories on Earth as well.

These small stars are also vital in the search for Earth-like planets which fall inside the habitable zone and where water formation can take place. TRAPPIST-1 is one such star which provides an ideal atmosphere for the seven planets revolving around it to sustain life. However, researchers have not determined whether any such planets are orbiting EBLM J0555-57Ab as well.

The astronomers who made the discovery claimed that the star is around 600 light years away from Earth. EBLM J0555-57Ab is part of a binary system, meaning that another much larger star is also present in the system. In fact, researchers detected the smaller star when it crossed in front of the larger star in the system. This technique is used to detect far away planets, but in this case, the astronomers were able to determine the size and mass of the EBLM J0555-57Ab star.

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How the discovery was made

The star was discovered by WASP, which is a planet-finding initiative run by the Universities of St. Andrews, Leicester, Keele, and Warwick. The EBLM J0555-57Ab was discovered when it passed in front of the larger star in the system, forming an eclipse like formation. This caused the bigger star to appear dimmer for a certain period of time.

Using advanced equipment and calculations, the scientists were able to determine the size and mass of the star which had passed in front of the bigger star. Researchers revealed that that the mass of the Smallest Star was found to be comparable to TRAPPIST-1, but in terms of the radius of the star, it was almost 30 percent smaller than that of TRAPPIST-1.