Researchers at the University of Bonn and the Russian Academy of Sciences have uncovered an incredibly unusual and rare star in the midst of a gas cloud about 1
The star named J005311 appears to have risen from its cosmic grave after two dead stars collided in the constellation Cassiopeia. The results, published on May 21 in Nature, reveal the nature of the exotic zombie star and its unusual properties. The team discovered the bizarre object using data from NASA's Wide Field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) and subsequently observed it using a ground-based telescope at the Russian Special Astrophysical Observatory.
At the end of the life of a little star, when all the fuel is exhausted and turns into a "white dwarf" – a tiny, dense, dead star. Mostly a white dwarf is done after that. However, Bonn researchers studied the radiation of the strange star and found that it lacked the hydrogen and helium normally found in a white dwarf.
Due to the unusual emission signal of J005311, the researchers speculate that what they have discovered is the result of a cosmic fusion of two white dwarfs circling billion years.
"Event is extremely rare," explains Götz Gräfener, co-author of the study, in a press release. "There are probably not even half a dozen such objects in the Milky Way, and we've discovered one of them."
In general, collisions of white dwarfs lead to huge stellar explosions, so-called supernovae. But J005311 did not explode. Instead, it was revived and started burning again.
It seems about 40,000 times brighter than our Sun, has a strong magnetic field and its current of stellar winds moves at 16,000 kilometers per second. At about 200,000 degrees Celsius, it is also incredibly hot.
What fate awaits the new star? Of course, death. The extraordinary event has only delayed its decline by several thousand years. The second run in life will be over when the fuel is used up. At that point, it will disintegrate into a tiny star and explode.