Researchers funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) announced today in Astrophysical Journal Letters that they have discovered a faraway binary star system that could be the progenitor of a rare type of supernova.
The two yellow stars, which orbit each other and even share a large amount of stellar material, resemble a peanut. The Ohio State University astronomers and their colleagues believe the two stars in the system, 13 million light years away and tucked inside a small galaxy known as Holmberg IX, appear to be nearly identical, each 15 to 20 times the mass of our Sun.
This work was funded through an NSF continuing grant to support a systematic study of the most massive stars in the local universe. The study is expected to yield masses and radii for dozens of massive stars discovered in a variety of environments. The data produced can be used to test models of massive star atmospheres, winds, and how they evolve both as single stars and in binaries.
"To have discovered a pair of massive interacting stars in this configuration is truly exceptional--sort of like rare squared," said NSF Program Manager Michael Briley. "There is a lot these stars can tell us about how they work and how they influence their environment. But the really exciting part is they may also hold the key to finally understanding why some massive yellow stars explode."
Lead author Jose Prieto, an Ohio State graduate student who analyzed the new system as part of his doctoral dissertation, searched the historical record to see whether his group had found the first such binary. In a surprising twist, his search uncovered another similar system less than 230,000 light years away in the Small Magellanic Cloud, a small galaxy that orbits the Milky Way. The second binary star system was discovered in the 1980s but misidentified at the time. Prieto reassessed the data and realized the system was another yellow super-giant eclipsing binary. Prieto and his colleague suspect the yellow binary systems could be the progenitors of rare supernova linked to yellow supergiants.
Most stars end their life in a supernova at the cooler red end of the temperature scale and a few end in the hotter blue end, Pietro said. Astronomers didn't believe stars would end during the short transitional phase in between--until now.
"When two stars orbit each other very closely, they share material, and the evolution of one affects the other," Prieto said. "It's possible two supergiants in such a system would evolve more slowly and spend more time in the yellow phase--long enough that one of them could explode as a yellow supergiant."
Diane Banegas | EurekAlert!
Astronomers see 'warm' glow of Uranus's rings
21.06.2019 | University of California - Berkeley
A new force for optical tweezers awakens
19.06.2019 | University of Gothenburg
From June 25th to 27th 2019, the Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology IDMT in Ilmenau (Germany) will be presenting a new solution for acoustic quality inspection allowing contact-free, non-destructive testing of manufactured parts and components. The method which has reached Technology Readiness Level 6 already, is currently being successfully tested in practical use together with a number of industrial partners.
Reducing machine downtime, manufacturing defects, and excessive scrap
The quality of additively manufactured components depends not only on the manufacturing process, but also on the inline process control. The process control ensures a reliable coating process because it detects deviations from the target geometry immediately. At LASER World of PHOTONICS 2019, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be demonstrating how well bi-directional sensor technology can already be used for Laser Material Deposition (LMD) in combination with commercial optics at booth A2.431.
Fraunhofer ILT has been developing optical sensor technology specifically for production measurement technology for around 10 years. In particular, its »bd-1«...
The well-known representation of chemical elements is just one example of how objects can be arranged and classified
The periodic table of elements that most chemistry books depict is only one special case. This tabular overview of the chemical elements, which goes back to...
Light can be used not only to measure materials’ properties, but also to change them. Especially interesting are those cases in which the function of a material can be modified, such as its ability to conduct electricity or to store information in its magnetic state. A team led by Andrea Cavalleri from the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter in Hamburg used terahertz frequency light pulses to transform a non-ferroelectric material into a ferroelectric one.
Ferroelectricity is a state in which the constituent lattice “looks” in one specific direction, forming a macroscopic electrical polarisation. The ability to...
Researchers at TU Graz calculate the most accurate gravity field determination of the Earth using 1.16 billion satellite measurements. This yields valuable knowledge for climate research.
The Earth’s gravity fluctuates from place to place. Geodesists use this phenomenon to observe geodynamic and climatological processes. Using...
24.06.2019 | Event News
29.04.2019 | Event News
17.04.2019 | Event News
24.06.2019 | Event News
24.06.2019 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
24.06.2019 | Life Sciences