White Dwarf Found Lashing Red Dwarf In Space In AR Scorpii Star System

Posted: Jul 28 2016, 1:47pm CDT | by , in News | Latest Science News


White Dwarf Found Lashing Red Dwarf in Space in AR Scorpii Star System
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Astronomers have discovered a new type of exotic binary star system, in which a rapidly spinning white dwarf star is lashing the companion red dwarf star with high-energy particles, causing the entire system to pulse dramatically every 1.97 minutes with radiation ranging from the ultraviolet to radio.

The binary system was discovered by a group of amateur astronomers from Germany, Belgium and Britain. Its behavior was unlike anything they had ever encountered before.

The true nature of this previously misidentified system was then observed by researchers at the University of Warwick using a multitude of telescopes on the ground and in space, including the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.

The star system AR Scorpii (AR Sco) lies in the constellation of Scorpius, 380 light years from Earth.

"AR Scorpii was discovered over 40 years ago, but its true nature was not suspected until we started observing it in June 2015. We realized we were seeing something extraordinary the more we progressed with our observations," said lead researcher Tom Marsh from the University of Warwick.

The radiation across a broad range of frequencies is indicative of emission from electrons accelerated in magnetic fields, which can be explained by AR Sco's spinning white dwarf.

The source of the electrons themselves, however, is a major mystery -- it is not clear whether it is associated with the white dwarf or its cooler companion, said the study published in the journal Nature.

"We've known about pulsing neutron stars for nearly 50 years and some theories predicted white dwarfs could show similar behavior. 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," said study co-author Boris Gansicke. 

You May Like


The Author

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/59" rel="author">IANS</a>
The Indo-Asian News Service (IANS) was established in 1986, initially to serve as an information bridge between India and its thriving Diaspora in North America. Now IANS is a full-fledged wire agency, putting out news 24x7 from around the world.




Leave a Comment

Share this Story

Follow Us
Follow I4U News on Twitter
Follow I4U News on Facebook

You Also Like


Read the Latest from I4U News