Researchers at the University of Warwick have finally managed to identify the cause of a peculiar signal emitted by a space object known as NGTS-7, located in the Milky Way, which regularly “blinks”, Live Science reports.
As the media outlet points out, scientists studying this celestial body observed that the light emanated by it dims briefly every 16.2 hours.
And now, the astronomers have determined that not only is NGTS-7 actually two similarly sized stars located in the same system, but there's also an object known as a brown dwarf orbiting one of these stars, which causes the aforementioned dimming.
"It's impressive that the astronomers involved were able to parse the complicated signal from this system, disentangling where the intermixed light from the brown dwarf and the two small, young stars originally came from", said Hugh Osborn, an astronomer at the Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de Marseille in France, who was not involved in the research.
In order to perform this feat, the scientists had to employ a method which is also used to detect exoplanets, the media outlet adds.
Osborn also said that while any detection of a brown dwarf is exciting in itself, due to these celestial bodies' relative rarity, this particular one seems especially peculiar due to its close proximity to its host star, not to mention that ”the orbit of the brown dwarf appears to have 'spun up' the orbit of the star", as satellites typically don't have this effect on their host stars.