Unusual double star produces fastest new star ever

Unusual double star produces fastest new star ever

Sudden bursts of light caused by the energy released by the white dwarfs that make up a binary star system along with a companion star are called “novae.”This Wednesday (15) Posted in American Astronomical Society Research Notesreporting what astronomers call the fastest nova ever recorded.

The inset shows an intermediate polar system, a binary star system, that gave rise to the new V1674 Hercules. The airflow from the companion star hits the accretion disk and then flows along the magnetic field lines toward the white dwarf.Image: Mark Garlick

According to the website physics, an unusual event that drew scientists’ attention to an even more unusual star. When they study it, they can find answers not only to the many unusual features of novae, but also to larger questions about solar system chemistry, stellar death and the evolution of the universe.


Each nova is created from a white dwarf — the very dense core of the remnants of a star — and a nearby companion star. Over time, the white dwarf absorbs material from its neighbors and heats that material, causing a runaway reaction that releases a burst of energy at lightning speed. This process usually takes one to two weeks.

V1674 Hercules is the fastest nova in the history of astronomical observations

However, on June 12, 2021, a nova named V1674 Hercules exploded so brightly that it was visible to the naked eye. In just 24 hours, this glow completely disappeared, making it the fastest nova in the history of astronomical observations.

“The previous fastest nova was one we studied in 1991, V838 Hercules, and it descended in about two or three days,” said Sumner Starrfield, an astrophysicist and chancellor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration at the University of Minnesota (ASU). .

Not only is the new V1674 Hercules the fastest, it’s also packed with unusual features. According to the researchers, the light it emits and the energy it emits pulsate like a ringing bell. Every 501 seconds, observers can see an oscillation in visible light waves and X-rays.

More than a year after the explosion, the nova still shows this oscillation, which according to the scientists has persisted for much longer. “What’s most unusual is that this wobble occurs before the explosion, but it’s also evident when the nova is about 10 times brighter,” said co-author Mark Wagner, Ohio State University’s scientific director of the observatory. Large binoculars for observing novae.

When astronomers monitored the material ejected from the new explosion, they noticed another strange thing. Some kind of wind, which may depend on the position of the white dwarf and its companion star, is shaping the flow of matter into the space around the system.

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While white dwarfs collect and alter matter from their companion stars, novae condition the space around them with new matter during their explosion. This is an important part of the cycle of matter in space, as the material ejected during these processes eventually forms new star systems.

For scientists, such events also help shape our solar system, which means studying these phenomena can provide answers about the composition of Earth.

“We’ve been trying to figure out how the solar system came to be and where its chemical elements came from,” Stafield said. “One of the things we’re going to learn from this nova is, for example, how much lithium was produced by this explosion. We’re now pretty sure that a significant portion of the lithium we have on Earth was produced by these types of explosions.”

Furthermore, explosions like V1674 Hercules can say more about how stars in binary systems evolve to die, a process that is not well understood. They also serve as living laboratories where scientists can see nuclear physics in action and test theoretical concepts.

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