16:30 GMT +321 November 2019
Listen Live
    Artist’s impression video of the exotic binary star system AR Scorpii

    Scientists Discover Real 'Star Wars' Between Dwarf Stars (VIDEO)

    © Photo: YouTube/European Southern Observatory (ESO)
    Europe
    Get short URL
    1135
    Subscribe

    An unusual star system has become a “battlefield” between its two halves, astronomers revealed. A white dwarf regularly shoots his companion red dwarf with rays, which cause bright flashes on its surface.

    A group of researchers have finally solved a decades-old puzzle of the binary star system called AR Scorpii, that lies in the constellation of Scorpius, 380 light-years from Earth. Since AR Scorpii was discovered back in the 1970s, scientists considered it to be a strange single star that flashes brightly and fades every two minutes. However, the nature of these fluctuations remained a mystery until now.

    Using a range of telescopes, including Hubble and the Very Large Telescope, amateur astronomers teamed up with professionals to show that AR Scorpii is actually not one, but two stars.

    "AR Scorpii was discovered over 40 years ago, but its true nature was not suspected until we started observing it in 2015," Tom Marsh, an expert from the University of Warwick in England and a lead author of a new study said in a statement. "We realized we were seeing something extraordinary within minutes of starting the observations."

    New findings, published Wednesday in the journal Nature, showed that the system is made up of a white dwarf that has similar dimension to Earth but is 200,000 times more massive, and a red dwarf, which is one-third the size of our Sun. The white star rapidly spins around its neighbor and lashes it with radiation, comparable to a lighthouse beam. The pulse of electromagnetic radiation is so intense that it causes the red dwarf to flicker.

    According to the astronomers, such a unique behavior of the binary star system has never been observed before.

    "It's very exciting that we have discovered such a system, and it has been a fantastic example of amateur astronomers and academics working together," co-author Boris Gänsicke said in the statement.

    Related:

    Mysterious 'Purple Orb' Spotted Off California Coast (VIDEO)
    Space Aliens, Killer Robots Helped NASA Produce the Mars Rover
    Sunset in Space: Stunning Vistas of Our Solar System
    Tags:
    Star Wars, star, discovery, study, space, United Kingdom
    Community standardsDiscussion
    Comment via FacebookComment via Sputnik