In the vastness of universe there are still endless secrets waiting to be discovered. Researchers all over the world are therefore tirelessly observing space in search of a new discovery. German scientists have now discovered such a thing. You’ve seen a whole new star variety.
New star type in the universe: where does it come from?
According to a study now published in the Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society, the experts have discovered two white dwarfs in the universe, which pose a mystery to them. White dwarfs form when stars within a certain mass range run out of energy and explode. They leave behind a dense core that is no longer capable of fusion – a white dwarf is born. This cools down to the temperature level of the universe over the following trillions of years.
But the two new stars do not fit the well-known process. Typically, white dwarfs have atmospheres rich in hydrogen and helium. However, the new discoveries contain surprisingly high amounts of carbon and oxygen. Instead of the traces that occur, if at all, the astronomers discovered concentrations of up to 20 percent.
Typically, white dwarfs produce carbon and oxygen as a type of “ash” product as they burn helium. But this process should have stopped long ago. Also mysterious is that these new stars are hotter and broader than most white dwarfs. This suggests that they may well still be burning helium in their cores.
Novel white dwarfs: There is a theory
The discovery seriously challenges the understanding of stellar evolution, according to lead professor Klaus Werner in a New Atlas report. But there is already a first attempt at an explanation: white dwarfs can sometimes be in a narrow binary system. That is, they are so close together that their gravitational pulls cause them to orbit each other.
It can happen that they collide with each other and a completely new object is created. If the composition of the respective white dwarfs fits exactly, the newly discovered stars could also form in this way. A white dwarf with high carbon and oxygen content is believed to have overlaid a helium-rich dwarf under certain conditions during the collision. However, all observations cannot be explained with this theory. Further investigations are therefore necessary.
In any case, it remains exciting to see what new phenomena the universe still has in store. A new variant of black holes is currently inspiring research.
Source: “An evolutionary channel for CO-rich and pulsating He-rich subdwarfs” (2022, Royal Astronomical Society), New Atlas