General, Research, Technology

A mysterious radio signal puzzled astronomers. Perhaps a new type of solar system has been discovered

For about two months, scientists ledobserving a part of the sky near the Altar constellation using the MeerKAT radio telescope, which is located in the Karoo desert in South Africa. Recently, they noticed something strange - a variable radio source whose position coincides with the position of the star TYC 8332-2529-1. Researchers continued their observations from other telescopes and found that the unusual radio variability comes from a binary star system - two stars orbiting each other - in our own galaxy. However, this discovery proved to be very difficult to explain.

Meerkat Radio Telescope

This is the first discovery of MeerKAT the so-called"Temporary source" - an object that undergoes significant changes in brightness, or appears and disappears. Scientists do not exclude that this discovery is only the tip of the iceberg regarding natural phenomena that occur in the universe. The work was published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Work began by comparing the source withby the position of the star TYC 8332-2529-1, which is located at a distance of about 1800 light-years from Earth. Since it is a relatively bright star, a number of optical telescopes have detected visible light emanating from it. These data helped researchers understand that TYC 8332-2529-1 is about two and a half times the mass of the sun. Moreover, its brightness changes within 21 days.

The double system looks like this

Further observations showed that the starpossesses a magnetic field and makes a revolution around a satellite star every 21 days. However, researchers believe that the companion star TYC 8332-2529-1 is much smaller - its mass is probably 1.5 times the mass of the Sun. At the same time, scientists can not say with certainty which particular star it is. As a rule, White dwarfs are found in binary systems, but most of them have less mass than the satellite TYC 8332-2529-1.

What causes the radio flash?

The flash itself may be caused by magneticthe activity of a giant star, similar to solar flares, but much brighter and more energetic. However, such flares are usually observed in dwarf stars, and not in giant stars. Known stellar systems, including a giant star and a star similar to the Sun, can clarify the results obtained - in this case, the cause of the outburst may be the magnetic activity of the giant star. However, there was no indication that the TYC 8332-2529-1 satellite is actually a star like the Sun.

MeerKat peers into the sky in search of new, mysterious objects

Researchers believe that since propertiesstar systems do not fit into our knowledge, the discovery of scientists "may represent a completely new kind of star systems." It is possible that this may be some kind of exotic system that no one has seen before: a giant star with radio emission that revolves around a neutron star (the dense remnant of a supernova explosion) or a black hole. Scientists will continue to observe with the MeerKAT radio telescope every week for the next four years, and the ASAS-SN optical telescope will continue to observe TYC 8332-2529-1. This means that researchers will be able to study in detail the nature of the source and its outburst. Well, you and I have to wait for new, unusual discoveries.