’Impossible’ Stars Found in Super-Close Orbital Dances
2012 07 27
Four pairs of what astronomers are calling "impossible stars" — stellar twins in orbits so close they defy explanation — have been found in our Milky Way galaxy, scientists say.
Astronomers using the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope (UKIRT) in Hawaii discovered the four star pairs, each of which is a binary system in which two stars circle each other in less than four hours. Until now, scientists thought that such twin-star setups couldn’t exist.
This artist’s impression shows two active stars — M4-type red dwarfs — that orbit each other every 2.5 hours, as they continue to spiral inwards. Eventually they will coalesce into a single star.
Our sun does not orbit another star, but roughly half of the stars in our Milky Way galaxy do, as part of a binary system. These binary stars likely formed close together, and have been orbiting one another since their birth, the researchers said.
It was typically thought that if a star formed too close to another, the two stars would quickly merge into a single, bigger star. This theory seemed to agree with observations taken over the last three decades, which reveal that binary systems are abundant, but none of the pairs have an orbital period shorter than five hours, the researchers said.
In the new study, a team of astronomers monitored the brightness of hundreds of thousands of stars in near-infrared light over the past five years, and found several stellar binaries with surprisingly short orbits.
The astronomers focused on binaries of red dwarfs, which are stars that are up to ten times smaller and a thousand times dimmer than the sun. While red dwarfs are the most common type of star in the Milky Way galaxy, they often do not show up in astronomical surveys because they are too dim in visible light.
"To our complete surprise, we found several red dwarf binaries with orbital periods significantly shorter than the 5 hour cut-off found for sun-like stars, something previously thought to be impossible," the study’s lead author Bas Nefs, from Leiden Observatory in the Netherlands, said in a statement. "It means that we have to rethink how these close-in binaries form and evolve."
Early in their lifetimes, stars shrink in size, which suggests that the orbits of stars in these tight binary systems must have also shrunk since they were formed, the researchers said. If not, the stars would have interacted with each other early on, and would have likely merged.
But, how the orbits of stars in these binaries shrunk by so much remains a mystery. According to the new study, one possible explanation is that cool stars in binary systems are much more active and violent than was previously thought.
As the cool stellar companions spiral in toward each other, their magnetic field lines may become twisted and deformed. This powerful magnetic activity may help slow down the spinning stars, allowing them to move closer together, the researchers explained.
"The active nature of these stars and their apparently powerful magnetic fields has profound implications for the environments around red dwarfs throughout our galaxy," study co-author David Pinfield, from the University of Hertfordshire in England, said in a statement.
Detailed results of the new study appear in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.
Article from: Space.com
Also tune into Red Ice Radio:
Walter Cruttenden - Lost Star of Myth and Time, Rise and Fall of Civilization and Consciousness
Walter Cruttenden - Sirius, The Binary Star & Precession
Walter Cruttenden - Ancient Cosmology: A Map of the Future
Wallace Thornhill - Proto-Saturn, The Purple Dawn of Creation & Our Strange Solar System
Andrew Collins - The Cygnus Mystery
Marshall Masters - Planet X in 2003 & 2012
Binary ’deathstar’ has Earth in its sights
Scientists find evidence of a mystery fifth giant planet that was ejected from the solar system
Scientists think solar system may have had a FIFTH gas planet
New 3D tool from NASA: Eyes on the Solar System
Huge New Planet (Brown Dwarf?) Discovered in Our Solar System - Tyche Echoes of Planet X or "Nibiru"
Was our solar system designed to produce humans?
Two Suns? Twin Stars Could Be Visible From Earth By 2012
Binary Research Institute
Latest News from our Front Page
NATO Exercise in Ukraine Coincided with MH-17 Shoot-down
2014 07 24
Rapid Trident was omitted from the flurry of coverage on the shoot-down MH-17.
From the U.S. Army in Europe website:
Rapid Trident supports interoperability among Ukraine, the United States, NATO and Partnership for Peace member nations. The exercise helps prepare participants to operate successfully in a joint, multinational, integrated environment with host-nation support from civil and governmental agencies. ...
Warning of ’imminent’ terror attack in Norway
2014 07 24
Norwegians were warned Thursday of the concrete possibility of a terror attack occurring in that country at the hands of people with connections to an extremist group in Syria.
A press conference was called in Oslo, Norway on Thursday where an announcement was made of a "possible concrete threat" to national security in that country from terrorists related to an extremist ...
Judge says government can access everything in a Gmail account
2014 07 24
All your emails are belong to us.
At least that’s what the latest court order from a judge in New York says. The warrant, granted on June 11, states that the government can access all the content and files contained in a Gmail account.
Yes, this is a significant blow to privacy.
The subject of this specific search relates to a money laundering ...
Scotland Yard Spied on Grieving Families: secret surveillance after police victim shot seven times in head ’by mistake’
2014 07 24
More terror from the ’anti-terror’ brigade.
Undercover police gathered evidence on 18 grieving families
By Rob Evans and Vikram Dodd | The Guardian
Undercover police officers secretly gathered intelligence over two decades on 18 families fighting to get justice from the police, it was revealed on Thursday.
The intelligence covering high-profile campaigns was collected between the mid-1980s and 2005, and affected grieving families ...
Air Algerie AH5017 with 116 onboard goes missing for hours, found crashed in Mali
2014 07 24
An Air Algerie flight carrying 110 passengers and six crew members has reportedly crashed in Mali after having disappeared from radar early on Thursday morning between Burkina Faso and Algeria.
A French Ministry of Defense official told Fox News that the two French fighter jets located the wreckage of the plane, which had crashed in Mali. An airport official additionally confirmed ...
|More News » |