A Teardrop Star Roams The Universe With Project1199

A Teardrop Star Roams The Universe With Project1199

It is striking because that teardrop appearance is very different from the spherical ball of fire that traditional stars resemble, such as our Sun.

Astronomers have named this cosmic tear HD265435 and consider that it is actually a binary system consisting of a massive white dwarf star and another hot sub-dwarf star that rotate around each other at breakneck speed: every 100 minutes.

White dwarfs are “dead” stars that have burned up all their fuel and collapsed in on themselves, becoming small, but extremely dense. Hot sub-dwarfs are a type of old blue stars that are on the verge of death as white dwarfs. A Teardrop Star Roams The Universe With Project1199

Astronomers have confirmed that both stars, one dead and the other dying, are in the early stages of a spiral that will likely end in a supernova: both stars have the necessary mass to illuminate it.

A supernova is the explosion of a star that is at least eight times the mass of our sun. They are so called because explosions suddenly appear in the universe, without having previously known anything about them.

Explosive spiral The supernova that will emerge from this cosmic tear will be type Ia , which occurs when the core of a white dwarf star reignites, leading to a thermonuclear explosion.

There are two scenarios in which this can happen. In the first, the white dwarf gains enough mass to reach 1.4 times the mass of our Sun, known as the Chandrasekhar Limit.

The Limit of Chandrasekhar is the difference between dying in a blaze of glory and disappearing in a slow fade into infinite darkness.

For our universe, this line means much more: only by surpassing it can the stars sow the seeds of life throughout the cosmos. When that happens the second scenario occurs.

HD265435 fits into this second scenario, in which the total mass of a star system is near or above this mass limit, which means that the cosmic tear may end up seeding life into the universe.

Only a few star systems have been discovered that will reach this threshold and result in a life-promoting, Type Ia supernova . That future supernova will consume the two stars that today form the cosmic tear.

Tear of Life Astronomers also have an explanation for the mysterious teardrop shape of the HD265435 binary system: it is because one of the two stars, the massive white dwarf, distorts its aging stellar companion with its intense gravity. That provokes the image of the tear.

As the two stars are already close enough to start spiraling closer together, the white dwarf will inevitably go supernova in about 70 million years. A Teardrop Star Roams The Universe With Project1199

Theoretical models produced specifically for this study, published in the journal Nature Astronomy, also predict that the hot sub-dwarf will contract to become a white dwarf star before merging with its companion. For her it will be like a cremation.

Type Ia supernovae are important to cosmology as “standard candles,” the researchers note. The standard candle is a system that allows to measure astronomical distances: if the intensity of the source or the absolute luminosity of an astronomical object is known, the distance of the observed luminosity and the expansion speed of the universe can be calculated.

From all this story, a poet would interpret the cosmic tear in a very different way, perhaps as the posthumous cry of two stars that are lighting a supernova in the middle of a funeral. And I would say, evoking Neruda: I have been reborn many times, from the bottom of defeated stars .

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