Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Young stars' flickering light reveals remarkable link with matter-eating black holes

14.10.2015

University of Leicester researcher involved in international study into universal physics

An international team of astronomers, including Dr Simon Vaughan from the University of Leicester's Department of Physics and Astronomy, has discovered a previously unknown link between the way young stars grow and the way black holes and other exotic space objects feed from their surroundings.


An accretion disc around a black hole.

Credit: University of Leicester

The study, 'Accretion-induced variability links young stellar objects, white dwarfs, and black holes', which is published in the journal Science Advances, shows how the 'flickering' in the visible brightness of young stellar objects (YSOs) - very young stars in the final stages of formation - is similar to the flickering seen from black holes or white dwarfs as they violently pull matter from their surroundings in a process known as accretion.

The researchers found that relatively cool accretion discs around young stars, whose inner edges can be several times the size of the Sun, show the same behaviour as the hot, violent accretion discs around planet-sized white dwarfs, city-sized black holes and supermassive black holes as large as the entire Solar system, supporting the universality of accretion physics.

The study found a relationship between the size of the central object and the speed of the flickering produced by the disc, suggesting the physics of the accretion must be very similar around these different astronomical objects despite them being completely different in other ways, such as size, age, temperature and gravity.

Dr Simon Vaughan, Reader in Observational Astronomy at the University of Leicester's Department of Physics and Astronomy, explained: "The seemingly random fluctuations we see from the black holes and white dwarfs look remarkably similar to those from the young stellar objects - it is only the tempo that changes."

The new observations were obtained with Kepler/K2 and ULTRACAM, examining accreting white dwarfs and young stellar objects.

Accretion discs are responsible for the growth and evolution of most celestial objects, from young protostars still in the star forming process to ancient supermassive black holes at the centre of galaxies.

NASA's Kepler/K2 telescope can 'listen' to the seemingly random brightness variations produced by accretion discs, revealing how they all sound the same once scaled by their physical size.

Accretion therefore is a universal process operating in the same way across all astrophysical objects.

The study was led by Simone Scaringi, a Humboldt Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching, Germany.

The UK universities involved in the project are the University of Leicester, the University of Southampton, the University of Warwick and the University of Sheffield.

###

The initial study received funding from the Science and Technology Facilities Council.

The study, 'Accretion-induced variability links young stellar objects, white dwarfs, and black holes', which is published in the journal Science Advances, is available at: http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/1/9/e1500686

Notes to editors:

For more information please contact Dr Simon Vaughan on sav2@leicester.ac.uk or call 0116 252 2074.

About the University of Leicester

The University of Leicester is a leading UK University committed to international excellence through the creation of world changing research and high quality, inspirational teaching. Leicester is consistently one of the UK's most socially inclusive universities with a long-standing commitment to providing fairer and equal access to higher education. Leicester is a three-time winner of the Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education and is the only University to win seven consecutive awards from the Times Higher. Leicester is ranked among the top one per-cent of universities in the world by the THE World University Rankings.

About the University of Southampton

Through world-leading research and enterprise activities, the University of Southampton connects with businesses to create real-world solutions to global issues. Through its educational offering, it works with partners around the world to offer relevant, flexible education, which trains students for jobs not even thought of. This connectivity is what sets Southampton apart from the rest; we make connections and change the world. http://www.southampton.ac.uk/

Media Contact

Dr. Simon Vaughan
sav2@leicester.ac.uk
44-011-625-22074

 @UoLNewsCentre

http://www.leicester.ac.uk 

Dr. Simon Vaughan | EurekAlert!

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form
18.08.2017 | Cornell University

nachricht Astrophysicists explain the mysterious behavior of cosmic rays
18.08.2017 | Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A Map of the Cell’s Power Station

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet

18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>