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NASA's Kepler witnesses vampire star system undergoing super-outburst 5nvklj





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NASA's Kepler witnesses vampire star system undergoing super-outburst

Dragon
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Post by Dragon on Fri Jan 24, 2020 9:36 pm

NASA's Kepler spacecraft was designed to find exoplanets by looking for stars that dim as a planet crosses the star's face. Fortuitously, the same design makes it ideal for spotting other astronomical transients—objects that brighten or dim over time. A new search of Kepler archival data has uncovered an unusual super-outburst from a previously unknown dwarf nova. The system brightened by a factor of 1,600 over less than a day before slowly fading away.

The star system in question consists of a white dwarf star with a brown dwarf companion about one-tenth as massive as the white dwarf. A white dwarf is the leftover core of an aging Sun-like star and contains about a Sun's worth of material in a globe the size of Earth. A brown dwarf is an object with a mass between 10 and 80 Jupiters that is too small to undergo nuclear fusion.

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NASA's Kepler witnesses vampire star system undergoing super-outburst 334pu7m
Dragon
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Post by Dragon on Fri Jan 24, 2020 9:38 pm

NASA's Kepler witnesses vampire star system undergoing super-outburst Nasaskeplerw
Credit: NASA and L. Hustak (STScI)

The brown dwarf circles the white dwarf star every 83 minutes at a distance of only 250,000 miles (400,000 km)–about the distance from Earth to the Moon. They are so close that the white dwarf's strong gravity strips material from the brown dwarf, sucking its essence away like a vampire. The stripped material forms a disk as it spirals toward the white dwarf (known as an accretion disk).

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NASA's Kepler witnesses vampire star system undergoing super-outburst 334pu7m
Dragon
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NASA's Kepler witnesses vampire star system undergoing super-outburst Empty Re: NASA's Kepler witnesses vampire star system undergoing super-outburst

Post by Dragon on Fri Jan 24, 2020 9:39 pm



A compact white dwarf star exerts enough gravitational pull to extract matter from its binary companion nearly a million miles away, accelerating the companion's spin to blast tight beacons of radio frequency energy across the universe.


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NASA's Kepler witnesses vampire star system undergoing super-outburst 334pu7m

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