June 25, 2022

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Astrónomos descubren un "extraordinario" fenómeno: una estrella enana blanca 'se enciende' y 'se apaga' en solo 30 minutos

Astronomers discover an “unusual” phenomenon: a white dwarf star “turns on” and “turns off” in just 30 minutes

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Oct 20, 2021 02:56 GMT

“The brightness differences observed in the accretion of white dwarfs are generally relatively slow and occur on time scales from days to months,” explained Simon Scaringi, a researcher at Durham University.

A team of astronomers has discovered for the first time how quickly a white dwarf star ‘turns off’ and ‘turns on’, With decrease and increase in brightness in just 30 minutesAnd communication This Tuesday the University of Durham (UK) who participated in the study.

To observe the unique phenomenon of the white dwarf, which is what most stars become after burning the hydrogen that powers them, the researchers used a NASA satellite, which “chases” the planets.

According to scientists, the fluctuations could be something that goes against the way a white dwarf – which It is located about 1,400 light-years away From Earth and is part of a binary system, known as “TW Pictoris” – it was growing or feeding from a companion star orbiting it.

Researchers think what they’ve been observing could be Changes in the magnetic field From the surface of the white dwarf. During operation mode, when the brightness is high, the celestial body feeds the accumulator disk as usual. And when the system suddenly ‘turns off’ and its brightness drops, the magnetic field rotates so rapidly that it creates a barrier that disrupts the amount of food the white dwarf can receive, the study says, published in Nature Astronomy.

This results in small, semi-regular increases in brightness that astronomers have detected. After some time, the system “turns on” intermittently again and Increases brightness to original level.

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Dr Simon Scaringi, lead author of the research from the Durham University Center for Extragalactic Astronomy, Hinge To Sky News, “The observed brightness differences in the accretion of white dwarfs are generally relatively slow and occur on time scales of days to months.” Seeing TW Pictoris’ brilliance fall apart in 30 minutes by itself ExceptionalIt was also never seen in other white dwarfs.”

The researchers said they hope their discovery will teach them more about the physics behind accretion, in which objects such as black holes, white dwarfs and neutron stars feed on surrounding material from nearby stars.

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