The merger of two white dwarfs to form a highly unusual, unstable star

(ORDO NEWS) — A team of researchers from the University of Potsdam, Germany, and Kazan Federal University have found signs of the formation of an unusual star of a new class in the nebula IRAS 00500 + 6713.

Nebulae are clouds of gas and dust located in specific areas of outer space – many of which can be seen in the sky with the naked eye. Nebulae are often associated with single or multiple star systems. In this new work, the researchers studied the nebula IRAS 00500 + 6713, as another team discovered last year that the central star of the nebula, called J005311, is characterized by stellar winds at unusually high speeds. After analyzing this star and the history of its formation, the researchers concluded that it was formed as a result of a collision between two white dwarfs – an event that usually leads to a supernova explosion and annihilation of both stars.

Previous studies, however, have shown that in the collision of these stars, such a scenario is possible, when one or two stars “survive” – ​​and sometimes merge. The researchers found evidence that such a combination took place in the case of the star J005311. However, this star showed unique properties. It emitted unusual X-rays and had a higher brightness than expected, which prevented astronomers from classifying it as a white dwarf. Further analysis showed that the star has a unique elemental composition, dominated by oxygen and neon. Thus, the star is an unstable product of two white dwarfs joining together without forming a new white dwarf – instead, a completely different type of star was born. According to the authors,

The observations were carried out using the XMM-Newton X-ray space observatory of the European Space Agency.

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