Stars still have an abundance of astonishments despite or – perhaps, because of – advances in astronomy. Researchers using Caltech’s Zwicky Transient Facility have discovered a binary white dwarf system 8,000 light-years away, ZTF J1539+5027, where the two dead stars orbit each other every seven minutes. That’s the second-fastest pair of white dwarfs seen up to now, and the fastest such “eclipsing” system (where one passes between its partner and Earth). This is not the first time they’ve seen one white dwarf ‘eat’ the other, but it’s rare to catch this cannibalization within the act.
The assimilation process has its share of mysteries. The temperature of the smaller however denser star has soared to about 90,000F or nine times the temperature of the Sun. Scientists believe it is so hot because it is starting to swallow the more massive star. However, none of the X-rays related to this accretion process are current. Lead study author Kevin Burdge believed this might very well be due to bigger-than-common accretion spots that emit ultraviolet and visible light instead of X-rays.
To top it off, the binary is simply one of the few identified sources of gravitational waves. While the conduct will not be studied significantly carefully till Europe’s Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) launches in 2034, it is evident that there’s a lot extra to learn. As it’s, astronomers expected the additional study to reveal more about how these binary systems work, to not point out other star methods with initially baffling characteristics.