The latest discovery in space news is a new type of star, spotted by a team of astronomers from the University of Tubingen. Usually, the surfaces of stars are composed of hydrogen and helium. The new strange star, however, is covered in oxygen, carbon, and the ashes of burning helium.
The weird behavior doesn’t stop there, with the temperature and size of the star not matching up to knowledge previously obtained about stellar masses.
“Normally we expect stars with these surface compositions to have already finished burning helium in their cores, and to be on their way to becoming white dwarfs. These new stars are a severe challenge to our understanding of stellar evolution.” explains Professor Werner, who led the project.
The paper, published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, may have an explanation to this mystery. Describing the interesting situation as a “rare kind of stellar merger between two white dwarf stars.”
Why should we study stars?
Learning more about stars and space, in general, helps strengthen and disprove scientific theories that have been developed on Earth. For example, learning more about the solar system allowed gravity to be understood, leading to a myriad of further understanding and inventions that help progress mankind.
Source study: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society – Discovery of hot subdwarfs covered with helium-burning ash