Saturn-Sized Star Is Smallest Ever Discovered
The smallest star yet measured has been discovered by a team of astronomers led by the University of Cambridge. With a size just a sliver larger than that of Saturn, the gravitational pull at its stellar surface is about 300 times stronger than what humans feel on Earth.
The star is likely as small as stars can possibly become, as it has just enough mass to enable the fusion of hydrogen nuclei into helium. If it were any smaller, the pressure at the centre of the star would no longer be sufficient to enable this process to take place. Hydrogen fusion is also what powers the Sun, and scientists are attempting to replicate it as a powerful energy source here on Earth.12
- 1. "Smallest-ever star discovered by astronomers." University of Cambridge Research News, 12 Jul. 2017, https://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/smallest-ever-star-discovered-by-ast.... Accessed 12 Jul. 2017.
- 2. Alexander von Boetticher et al. "A Saturn-size low-mass star at the hydrogen-burning limit." Astronomy & Astrophysics; Last revised: 12 Jul. 2017, arXiv:1706.08781. Accessed 12 Jul. 2017.