Astronomers have identified the smallest star ever discovered in the Universe and said that it could help in the search for Earth-like planets that may have the potential for life.
The star is located 600 light years away and is just larger than Saturn. The radius of Saturn is around 9.5 times that of Earth, but stars are generally much larger than planets.
Named EBLM J0555-57Ab, the newly-identified star has a gravitational pull around 300 times stronger than that on Earth. Its radius is 8.4 percent and mass 8.1 percent the size of that of the Sun.
It is likely that the newly-identified star is as small as a star can possibly become. Stars require a certain level of mass to enable hydrogen fusion to take place at their cores.
Were the star in question to be any smaller, it would not likely have the requisite mass to sustain the nuclear fusion. It would have instead become a brown dwarf, celestial objects that are bigger than giant planets but smaller than the smallest stars and emit infrared radiation, said Alexander Boetticher of the University of Cambridge, the lead author of the study.
universe：名詞，宇宙、全世界、整體。例句：The universe is bathed in a sea of radio waves.（宇宙浸浴在無線電波之海。）
fusion：名詞，融合、合併、熔解。例句：Nuclear fusion is the energy source that keeps the sun alive.（核融合是太陽賴以生存的能源。）
infrared：形容詞，紅外線的。例句：Infrared radiation has wavelengths longer than those of visible light.（紅外輻射的波長，比可見光的還要長。）