Earth-like planets in dead star ‘cosmic graveyards’ get stranger

New findings show that Earth-size planets may be even less likely to survive the violent conditions at the end of some stars’ lives than previously believed. This means that the first exoplanet discovered outside the solar system 30 years ago may be far weirder than we realized.

Discovered in 1992 by astronomers Alex Wolszczan and Dale Frail, the planet PSR B1257+12B has an Earth-like mass and orbits an exotic type of dead star called a pulsar. The discovery was followed by the revelation that the planet is accompanied by at least two other worlds. These other planets orbiting the pulsar PSR B1257+12 are also of similar sizes to the rocky worlds of the solar system.

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