A year for stars lasts only 20.5 hours: unique ultracold dwarfs-record holders discovered

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Stars have a year of only 20.5 hours: record-breaking ultra-cold dwarfs discovered

Scientists have discovered the most compact known binary star system, which consists of a special type of star.

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American astrophysicists have discovered the most compact binary system, which consists of ultracold dwarfs. So far, such systems have not yet been found. The two stars are so close that it takes less than one Earth day for them to orbit each other. In other words, the “year” of each star lasts only 20.5 hours, writes Phys.

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Astrophysicists from Northwestern University and the University of California at San Diego, USA, have discovered a new binary star system, which they called LP 413-53AB. It is in the constellation Taurus.

This system consists of two ultracold dwarfs – this is a class of red dwarf stars that have a very small mass and a very low temperature. These stars are so cold that they emit light mostly in the infrared, making them impossible for the human eye to see. And despite this, these stars are among the most common in the universe.

So far, astronomers have discovered only 3 similar binary star systems in which stars orbit very close to each other. But in the LP 413-53AB system, the stars have a 3 times shorter rotation period around each other than previously discovered similar stars.

A year lasts only 20.5 hours for stars: unique ultracold dwarfs discovered record holders

Stars have a year of only 20.5 hours: unique ultra-cool record-breaking dwarfs discovered

What makes this unique star system stand out is that all the previous three had a relatively young age of their stars They are about 40 million years old. But the discovered ultracold dwarfs are almost the same age as our Sun, that is, they are more than 4 billion years old.

“We assumed that such record-breaking systems existed and we finally managed to detect it,” says Zhi-Chun Xu from Northwestern University.

Initially, scientists thought they had discovered only one ultracold star , but subsequent observations have shown that it is actually a unique, incredibly compact binary star system.

In most binary star systems, the stars orbit each other within a few years, scientists say. Therefore, it was a real surprise to see a system where the orbital period is only 20.5 hours.

A year in stars lasts only 20.5 hours: unique ultra-cold record-breaking dwarfs discovered

Scientists have found that the distance between two very cold dwarf stars is only about 1% of the distance between the Earth and the Sun ( this is 149 million km, that is, these stars are at a distance of only a few times the distance from the Earth to the Moon) or about 1 million km.

Scientists believe that such a close location could be the result of migration of stars, or the now-vanished third star in this system influenced this.

“Discovering such a star system is very lucky, because they are extremely rare. But we do not yet know for sure whether they are rare, because they are rare appear in space, or because we just can't find them,” says Chris Theissen of the California th University in San Diego.

Focus already wrote that scientists first discovered an unusual phenomenon on a very strange star. It turned out that it releases a large jet of matter that flies into space at a speed of 1.6 million km/h.