'Dwarf's Revenge': Scientists Find Traces of Real 'Star Wars' in the Galaxy

© AP Photo / NASA, JPL-CaltechA pulsar
A pulsar - Sputnik International
David Buckley, an astronomer from the South African Astronomical Observatory, Cape Town, shared with RIA Novosti outstanding news about the rediscovery of the most amazing star in the Milky Way, a unique combination of a red and white dwarf.

Artist’s impression of the ultracool dwarf star TRAPPIST-1 from close to one of its planets - Sputnik International
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According to Buckley, Soviet astronomers first discovered the unusual flickering star in the constellation of Scorpio in 1971, publishing its description in the Astronomical Circular journal.

Soviet scientists observed the fluctuations in the brightness of the star and assumed that it belongs to a group of ordinary variable stars, whose brightness fluctuates when seen from Earth.

However, 40 years later, Buckley's team came to the conclusion that the star is one of the most unusual, interesting and unique objects of the Milky Way.

First, the astronomers noticed unusual periodic pulsations in its radiation that their Soviet predecessors did not see, and then Buckley started observing the star closer.

"The discovery of unusual characteristics of this star was a product of random coincidence. Coincidence and intuition play a huge role in astronomy, they are one of the main ways to discover something really interesting," the astronomer said, as quoted by RIA Novosti.

"When we started to observe this object and understood what it is, our colleagues from the press service immediately suggested that we should name our publication 'Dwarf-Star Wars: the revenge of the degenerates.' This is a really unique object: this is not a pulsar but it has all its characteristics," Buckley said.

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Having analyzed the star, scientists came to a very surprising conclusion. It turned out that the star consists of two halves: a white dwarf whose mass is about three times less than that of the sun and a red dwarf which is slightly inferior to the sun in size.

The unusual interaction between the two dwarfs has been generating bright flashes, resembling a kind of "star wars." The emergence of this double system, according to Buckley, still remains a mystery to astronomers. Buckley's team is eager to find out whether there are other similar objects in the universe.


This article has been updated to correct the name of Buckley's publication.

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