Scientists have discovered a strange pair of stars in which the smaller star absorbs the larger one

(ORDO NEWS) — About half of the star systems in the Milky Way are binary, in which the stars revolve around each other, more precisely around a common center of mass.

Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology announced the discovery of the binary system ZTF J1813+4251, in which one star absorbs matter from another.

The ZTF J1813+4251 system is located 3000 light years from Earth and belongs to the class of cataclysmic variables. This is the name of a pair in which one of the stars is a white dwarf and absorbs its companion.

What is known about the unusual pair of stars

The age of the stars in this system is 8 billion years, and their rotation period is 51 minutes – this is the minimum known value for such a pair.

Now the distance between them has significantly decreased and has become less than the distance from the Earth to the Moon.

Scientists say that a large star has a temperature comparable to the sun, and its size is comparable to the dimensions of Jupiter.

The white dwarf is much smaller – it is only 1.5 times larger than the Earth, but at the same time it has a very dense core, the mass of which is 56% of the mass of our Sun.

Star cannibalism

The minor star sucks up hydrogen from its companion’s upper layers, leaving it with an unusually high helium content as a result.

Under the influence of gravitational forces, the large star also acquires an elongated teardrop shape, which also explains the variable brightness level of the binary system.

Because of these processes, during the absorption of hydrogen, the system can produce “huge variable flashes of light” – they were previously associated with an unknown cataclysm (hence the name of the steam), but now astronomers have a clearer idea of ​​\u200b\u200bthe processes occurring.

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