July 14, 2024

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The Hubble Telescope found a surprise in a star that brightened 49 years ago

The Hubble Telescope found a surprise in a star that brightened 49 years ago

After 49 years, Astronomers have revisited one of the strangest binary star systems in our galaxy. about him His Majesty the Arch (HM Sge) That, Ben April and September 1975erupted as a bright, long-lived supernova, which it became 250 times brighter.

In this review, data from the space telescope were used NASA/ESA Hubble And based on Sophia Airborne: The Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy. “When I first saw the new data I said, “It’s amazing what Hubble ultraviolet spectroscopy can do.”“, he claimed Ravi Sankrita member of the Space Telescope Science Institute.

Hubble discovery

For this new investigation, new data provided by Hubble Space Telescope And the Sophia Airborne. The scientific results were published in the Astrophysical Journal.

The study analyzed the behavior of the binary system HM Sagittae (HM Sge), which came to the attention of scientists 49 years ago. After appearing on the scene as a bright, long-lived nova. Between April and September 1975, this system became 250 times brighter But what is even more surprising is that this is not the case It faded quickly, as novae usually do.

HM Sagittarius (HM Sge) Hubble.jpg

Image of HM Sagittae (HM Sge) taken by the Hubble Telescope.


the Novas are stars whose brightness suddenly increases dramatically. Then it fades away. They then return to their previous darkness, a process that generally takes a few months or years.

The unbelievable thing about this Binary system It is that after increasing its brightness, it did not dim as was thought, but rather maintained its condition Distinctive shine for decades. All these years, scientists have sought to notice this very fact, and the latest observations have shown that the star is heating up, but, paradoxically, has faded slightly.

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Thanks to notes, it was possible to clarify that HM Sge is A certain type of symbiotic star. In it, a white dwarf and a giant, bloated (and dust-producing) companion star meet. Eccentric orbit around each other: There the white dwarf absorbs the gas flowing from the giant star.

This gas generates a The fiery disc around the white dwarf Which could unexpectedly suffer a thermonuclear explosion. These accompanying interstellar fireworks dazzle astronomers because they… They provide more information about the physics and dynamics of stars in binary systems.

2021 Hubble UV data show the estimated temperature of the white dwarf and its accretion disk It has increased from 222,000°C to 250,000°C today.

Furthermore it, The SOFIA telescope discovered water, gas and dust That flows in and around the system. Infrared spectroscopic data show that the giant star returned to its normal behavior within just two years after the explosion, but this has diminished in recent years. It is a puzzle to explain.

What is the Hubble Telescope?

It was launched in 1990, Hubble Space Telescope that it The great space observatory that revolutionized astronomy. Thanks to it, planets inside and outside our solar system can be observed The most distant stars and galaxies seen so far.

the ExoplanetsPlanets outside our solar system are very difficult to image because of their existence Its great distance from Earth and its proximity to bright stars. However, in 2000, Hubble studied HD 209458 b, the first known exoplanet to transit or pass in front of its star.

Telescope – Developed by NASA and the European Space Agency-It was the first direct detection tool The atmosphere of an exoplanetThis is done by observing the starlight passing through it. using this method”Transient spectroscopy“Hubble observed sodium signatures in the planet’s atmosphere.

In 2018, Hubble studied the TRAPPIST planetary system1. Their observations revealed at least that Three planets are in the star’s habitable zone They show characteristics of dense atmospheres that can be rich in heavy gases.

More than 30 years after Hubble’s launch It continues in Earth’s orbitAnd providing data on the atmospheres of transiting exoplanets. The telescope is still operational, and is one of our most valuable and successful windows onto the universe.