The star “Physically Impossible” is observed for the first time

The star "Physically Impossible" is observed for the first time

A new type of star called the “very low mass white dwarf” (or simply “ELM”) First observed Astronomers at the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Such a star, until then, was only the object of theory because it was thought impossible to exist physically, because its age would be much older than that. The universe itself.

The star has a binary nature – that is, two stars orbit a common center, where the primary is brighter and the secondary is obscure. In the current case, Kareem L-Badri, the institute’s postdoctoral researcher and author Paper In the details of the discovery, it claims to be “the missing link in the binary star formation models we are always looking for”.


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Binary stellar systems may lead to the formation of very low-mass stars, a type of star that has so far only existed in theory is older than the universe (Picture: Tomas Adamsky / Shutterstock)

El-Badri explains that when a star dies, it usually transforms. In a typical white dwarf – A very dense object, basically a star at its core after burning all its fuel. However, in very rare cases, this star could turn into a kind of white dwarf ELM less than a third of the mass of our Sun.

ELMs create a difficult problem to solve: According to our understanding of astronomical calculations, each such star must be more than 13.8 billion years old – a number older than the universe and, consequently, physically inexplicable. .

For this reason, ELMs have always existed in the theoretical field, but never in the practical field. Experts say that once a co-star is found to form a binary system, a typical white dwarf will quickly reach the LM state. Thus, Gravity The partner can eat from the edges of the other star, which has made her an ELM for years.

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But this situation is not without its flaws: Our sun Aggression movements to white dwarfs have been observed, but no ELMs have been detected. Clearly, the Sun is not a binary system, but its gradual approach will affect nearby stars due to its gravitational pull.

“The universe is not old enough to produce such stars through normal stellar evolution,” El-Badri said.

Using the collected new data Gaya Space Observatory, From the ESA, L-Badri decided to look for signs of the moment of stellar transition – when a white dwarf becomes an ELM (a stage known as the “evolved catalytic variable”), it monitors the behavior of 21 candidates. Last worked well:

“100% of the candidates have formed the kind of ‘pre-ELM star’ we are looking for,” he said. “They were more inflated and inflated than ELMs, and were in the shape of an egg because the gravitational pull of their co – stars distorts the sphere.”

Divided into numbers: Of the 21 binary stars analyzed, 13 were still losing mass, while eight of them lost mass and showed themselves. Hot Than the previous variables.

Now, to confirm the repetition of this process, we will continue to look at the 21 selected stars and the 29 selected candidates.

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