Two stars that were born in the same stellar nursery but seem to find each other at opposite ends. But when these stars aligned some angel was singing or destiny was not coming into place. There was a hiccup.
According to an article to be published this week in The Astrophysical Journal, the magnetic field that surrounds this gleaming couple has been torn, creased and distorted.
Even though the researchers in the new study are still not sure of the reason behind this strange phenomenon, the prevailing hypothesis is that one of these star siblings moved closer to the other, “it caused the cloud to bend its magnetic field.” “Erin Cox, an astrophysicist at Northwestern University and the paper’s lead author, said in a statement.
And beyond telling the beautiful story of a cosmic homecoming, the team’s strange, magnetic anomaly could lead to much bigger discoveries down the road. Things like the habitability of exoplanets, understanding the behavior of stars like the Sun, and perhaps even helping in the search for extraterrestrial life.
“Planet and star formation happen at the same time, and binary stars interact with each other dynamically,” Cox said. “In our census of exoplanets, we know that planets exist around these double stars, but we don’t know much about how these planets differ from planets that reside around other stars.”
That’s because decoding any and all mysteries of binary star systems — such as two under investigation for messing with the magnetic field of their own stellar nurseries — potentially sheds light on what the planets around them are. can be.
Earth lives around a different star – the Sun – but could there be an Earth that lives next to stellar twins?
Alpha Centauri, for example, is the closest star system to us, and has two main stars orbiting within. Many experts believe this place in the universe may be conducive to life, and some plan to one day send a hyperspeed space sail with imaging instruments in the hope of finding such exotic signals.
Having knowledge about binary star dynamics ahead of an ambitious voyage could be of great help to the discovery. twisted field story
Cox and fellow scientists stumbled upon strange binary star siblings after following a hunch about a well-known star-forming cloud called L483.
Initially, seeing the L483 was nothing special. It was a standard stellar nursery, about 100 times the size of our Solar System, that ejected stellar material with immense power and helped give birth to tons of stars. It also had a magnetic field that seemed normal. “First, it matches what the theory predicts,” Cox said. “But theory may say one thing, and observations may say something else.”
Of course, zooming in on the L483 revealed a wildly different story. After using NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, or SOFIA, to take a closer look at L483, the team noticed right off the bat that this stellar nursery’s magnetic field was not normal at all. Something strange was going on. Time to dig deep.
Later, invoking a powerful radio telescope called the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, or ALMA, in Chile, researchers uncovered an arguably even more strange finding than magnetic complexity. Hiding right behind one of L483’s newborn stars… was another baby orb. “There is new work that suggests that it is possible for two stars to be very far from each other, and then one star comes close to forming a binary,” Cox said. “We think that’s what’s going on here.”
However, Cox said, “we don’t know why one star would move toward another, but we think the moving star shifted the system’s dynamics to bend the magnetic field.” Further observations unlocked some other important findings about binary star systems, such as the fact that they are still really young from our point of view, they are constantly forming and that they are at roughly the same distance as Our Sun is from Pluto. Eventually, Cox said, “with new tools coming online to discover and investigate new binary systems, we will be able to test these results with a statistical sample.”
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