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They found a pair of stars with the smallest orbits ever seen. These can eclipse every 51 minutes.

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A team now led by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has discovered stellar binaries (star pairs) with very short orbits. They rotate around each other every 51 minutes.

Half of the stars in our galaxy are solitary stars like the Sun, and the other half are stars that form rotating star systems in pairs or groups, and have very narrow orbits, making it difficult for the Earth and the Moon to reach each other. Some stars fit in between.

A newly discovered system named by the team ZTFJ1813+4251, It has the shortest orbit ever detected.

The discovery, published this Wednesday in the journal Nature, was made in collaboration with institutions such as Harvard University and the Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

This system appears to be one of a rare class of binary stars called “cataclysmic variables”. orbits a white dwarf like the Sun (The hot, dense core that remains in a star when it runs out of fuel).

These cataclysmic variables occur when the two stars approach each other in a process lasting billions of years and the white dwarf begins to accrete (eat) material from its companion star.

Astronomers have captured this cataclysm as stars overlap each other, helping them accurately measure their properties.

We used our measurements to run simulations of what the system might be doing today and how it might evolve in the next few hundred million years.

Both stars are in transition, according to their calculations, and the Sun-like star rotates, “donating” much of its hydrogen atmosphere to a ravenous white dwarf.

Over time, stars like the Sun will eventually shrink. A mostly dense, helium-rich nucleus. And 70 million years later, the two will come even closer, reaching an ultra-short orbit of 18 minutes before starting to swell and move apart.

Researchers at MIT and others predicted decades ago that these cataclysmic variables would shift to ultrashort orbits, but this is the first time they have been directly observed.

“People have predicted that these objects will transition into ultrashort orbits, and there has long been debate about whether they could be made short enough to emit detectable gravitational waves. The discovery has been debated. put an end to ,” explains MIT’s Kevin Burdge.

To conduct the study, Barge used a telescope-mounted camera at the Palomar Observatory in California to take high-resolution images of wide swaths of the sky, using a catalog of stars observed by the Zwicky Temporary Facility (ZTF). used.

Burdge looked for stars that appeared to flicker repeatedly with periods of less than an hour. This cycle usually at least he indicates a system of celestial bodies orbiting two closely spaced orbits, one intersecting the other and temporarily blocking their light.

pairs of stars discovered

Astronomers picked over a billion stars, and algorithms picked nearly a million stars that seemed to twinkle every hour.

Among them, Verge probed signals of particular interest, focusing on ZTF J1813+4251, a system about 3,000 light-years from Earth in the constellation Hercules.

“When this got talked about and I saw a solar eclipse happen every 51 minutes, I said. This is definitely a binary”, I remember the barge.

The authors observed this system at WM Keck Observatory in Hawaii and Gran Telescopio Canarias in Spain and found that it could accurately measure the masses, radii of two stars, and their orbital periods.

Therefore, the first object was probably a white dwarf, 1/100th the size of the Sun and about half the mass of the Sun, and the second object was a Sun-like star. It is nearing the end of its life and is similar in size to Jupiter.

Burdge realized that ZTF J1813+4251 was likely a drastic variable in the transition from hydrogen-rich to helium-rich bodies. This is a finding that confirms previous predictions.

Source: Biobiochile

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