Astronomers have discovered a pair of stars with ultra-short orbits

For the first time, scientists succeeded in directly observing a star binary with an ultra-short orbit and accurately determining its characteristics.

BingMag.com Astronomers have discovered a pair of stars with ultra-short orbits

For the first time, scientists succeeded in directly observing a star binary with an ultra-short orbit and accurately determining its characteristics.

The newly discovered system, in this catalog ZTF J1813+4251 It is called and seems to belong to a rare classification of binaries known as "Cataclysmic Binary". In this system, a Sun-like star is strongly orbiting a white dwarf, which is the hot, dense core at the end of a star's life.

Unlike similar star systems discovered so far, this time astronomers were able to directly measure this variable. observed an explosion when its stars regularly overlapped each other and thus precisely determined the properties of each star.

Using these measurements, they succeeded in simulating the current state of this system and the way it evolved over time. Hundreds of years have passed. This study showed that the stars of this pair are in a transition state, and the Sun-like star has already released a significant part of its hydrogen atmosphere to the white dwarf. Finally, this star will collapse into a large core. And it will become dense and rich in helium. But before expanding and moving away from each other, for the next 70 million years, these stars will get closer together until their very short orbit reaches only 18 minutes.

"Kevin Burdge" (Kevin Burdge) ) from the MIT School of Physics said in this regard: "It is a rare case that we were able to record one of these systems during the change from hydrogen to helium in the accretion disk. It was predicted that these objects would have to move to ultra-short orbits." He added: "For a long time there was doubt whether these stars could get close enough to produce detectable gravitational waves. emit? Now this new discovery shows that this won't happen.

The star system was observed by the Tsuicki Transit Facility (ZTF), a global mapping camera attached to the Palomar Observatory telescope in California. This mapping scan has taken more than 1,000 images of each of the more than 1 billion stars in the sky and recorded the changes in the brightness of each star throughout the day, month and year. They were looking for signals from systems with ultra-short circuits. The dynamics of such star systems can be intense enough to emit powerful bursts of light and gravitational waves.

In this new study, scientists used ZTF data to identify stars that appeared to blink repeatedly with a period of less than 1 hour. They checked. This frequency usually refers to a system of at least two nearby masses. They then used an algorithm to sort through more than 1 billion stars, each with more than 1,000 images taken.

The computer program sorted about 1 million stars that appeared to twinkle every hour or so. deleted from the data. The scientists then hand-checked them for signs of interest. In this way, ZTF J1813+4251, a system located in the constellation "Hercules" and about 3000 light-years from Earth, became the focus of attention. It showed and I saw that an eclipse occurs every 51 minutes and thus I found out that it is a binary."

This scientific team then from the "Keck Observatory" (W.M. Keck Observatory) in Hawaii and " They used the Gran Telescopio Canarias in Spain to further focus on the system and found it to be exceptionally "clean", meaning that its light changes can be detected with every shot. With such resolution, each object's mass, radius, and orbital period were precisely measured.

At about half the mass of the Sun and one-hundredth the size, scientists determined that the first object was likely a white dwarf. The second mass was a Sun-like star near the end of its life, one-tenth the size and mass of the Sun (about the size of Jupiter). The stars also appeared to revolve around each other every 51 minutes.

It was a Sun-like star, but the Sun can't orbit in less than eight hours, and so this system is really It is amazing and special. We were lucky to find a system that answers a big question and is one of the most beautiful explosive variables known.

Cover photo: A graphic design of a A binary star system in which the white dwarf swallows material from its companion star.
Credit: M.Weiss/Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian

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