March 21, 2023

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In an unprecedented event, a white dwarf star was seen “bright and dim” in 30 minutes!

A white dwarf star was seen “bright and faint” in just 30 minutes, with astronomers claiming to have seen the event days and months earlier.

Using data from NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) data, a team from the University of Durham observed events in the TW Pictoris star system 1,400 light-years from Earth.

Instead of taking months for the brightness to increase and then decrease again, it only took half an hour, possibly due to the fast magnetic field.

The researchers hope that this discovery will help them learn more about the physics behind the aggregation process that black holes, white dwarfs, and neutron stars use to feed on objects around them.

Most stars know what happens when white dwarfs burn the hydrogen that feeds them, waiting for our sun about five billion years later. They are the size of the Earth but the mass of the Sun, and they are often fed hydrogen from asteroids so that they are very bright.

Using data from TESS, the team found that changes in the brightness of TW Pictoris were significantly faster. When an object falls from another star on its surface it will “turn on” with high brightness and “off” with low brightness in just 30 minutes.

The TW Pictoris system consists of a white dwarf on a marine aggression disk fed by hydrogen and helium from its tiny asteroid.

The team explained that when the white dwarf eats – or accumulates – it becomes brighter.

This satellite team was helped by sudden falls and spikes never seen before in a dwarf dwarf in these short periods of time.

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What the researchers are looking at may be a redesign of the white dwarf’s surface magnetic field because it consumes more hydrogen.

During brightness mode, when it is high, the white dwarf normally eats the aggression disk.

Astronomers noticed that the system suddenly shut down and lost its brightness.

When this happens, the researchers say, the magnetic field rotates rapidly, blocking the fuel from the accumulating disk that constantly falls on the white dwarf.

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At this point, the amount of fuel the white dwarf can consume is controlled by a process called a magnetic gate.

Differences in brightness are generally relatively slow, said Dr. Simon Skarringi, lead author from the Center for Extracalactic Astronomy at the University of Durham.

“It is unusual for TW Pictoris to lose its brightness within 30 minutes,” the researcher explained. This is because the cum is not found in other white dwarfs, so it is “completely unexpected from our understanding of how these systems are fed by the accretion disk”.

Effectively, the star appears to be “on and off,” which the group described as a “previously unrecognized event”.

They were able to compare similar behaviors in tiny neutron stars, meaning that this could be an important step in understanding aggression – especially “other aggregating bodies are the matter around them and the important role of magnetic fields in this process,” according to Scarring.

Since white dwarfs are more common than neutron stars, astronomers expect other examples of this behavior in future projects.

Launched in April 2018, at a cost of $ 200 million, it is the successor to NASA’s Des Kepler space telescope.

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Since its launch, it has identified 154 planets, with an additional 4,471 candidates, according to NASA’s website. He completed his primary assignment on July 4, 2020 and is now on an extended assignment.

Published in Research Journal Natural astronomy.

Source: Daily Mail