(ORDO NEWS) — Observations made with the HESS gamma-ray observatory in Namibia have shown for the first time how a new star is accelerating particles to extreme speeds close to the theoretical limit.
Astrophysicists have recorded the explosion of a new star, as a result of which particles ejected from its interior accelerated to speeds close to the theoretical limit
White dwarfs are the remnants of old stars that have shed their outer layers and become extremely compact slowly smoldering stars.
They can occur after the so-called outbreaks of new ones. A nova occurs, for example, when a white dwarf is in a binary system with a large star, and takes material away from its more massive companion due to its gravity.
As soon as the collected material exceeds a critical level, it will cause a thermonuclear explosion on the surface of the white dwarf.
Some stars are known to go through this process multiple times. Discovered by scientists, RS Ophiuchi is one such recurring nova.
Every 15-20 years, an explosion occurs on its surface. Astrophysicists managed to observe one of these events in real time, if I can say so about an event that happened 5000 years ago, the light from which reached the Earth only now.
Space Particle Accelerator
As part of the observations, scientists noticed that the particles that flew out of the star were accelerated to energies several hundred times higher than those previously observed in the New.
In addition, the energy released by the explosion was extremely efficiently converted into the kinetic energy of protons and heavy nuclei, so that the particles could reach the maximum speeds calculated in theoretical models.
Why is this discovery so important? The observation that the theoretical limit of particle acceleration can actually be reached in real cosmic shock waves is of great importance for astrophysics. This suggests that the acceleration process may be just as effective in their much more extreme cousins, supernovae.
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