General, Research, Technology

Found a star that rotates space and time around itself

One of the principles of the general theory of relativityEinstein’s idea is that any rotating body in the Universe drags along with itself the nearby fabric of space-time. In order to detect such a phenomenon near the Earth, scientists need expensive devices in the form of gravitational probes, reports. Fortunately for us, there are many natural laboratories in the Universe where physicists can observe the fulfillment of Einstein’s predictions in the smallest detail and without the construction of multi-million dollar structures. The neighborhood of the recently discovered white dwarf was one of such places, proving by its example the hypothesis of the great Austrian scientist put forward at the beginning of the 20th century.

Image of a white dwarf attracting the matter of a neighboring star to its surroundings

Stars are able to rotate time in their vicinity.

Recently discovered by steam researcherscompact stars can be evidence of a unique phenomenon predicted by Albert Einstein in the early twentieth century. Rotating around each other at a breakneck speed, objects move in a very curved space-time, which is consistent with the modern theory of relativity. So, one of its postulates indicates that the faster the object rotates and the more massive it is, the stronger the pressure on the surrounding matter. This phenomenon remains the most relevant for white dwarfs, which, despite all their tiny dimensions by universal standards, have a huge density. Similar objects, which are, in fact, the remains of ancient stars, are able to complete a complete revolution around its axis in 1-2 minutes, and not in 24 hours, as our Earth does.

See also: The terrible secret of Betelgeuse - a giant star devoured its neighbor

Pulsars - the fastest rotating objects in the universe

So that astronomers can observethe moment of rotation of white dwarfs, they often have to look at them through orbital stars called pulsars. Compared to white dwarfs, pulsars do not consist of atoms, but of special particles - neutrons, which make these unusual objects rotate even faster than white dwarfs - more than 150 times per minute. The knowledge of the presence of a similar property in pulsars can help us in displaying the trajectory of a detected object when it revolves around a white dwarf. So, a pair of two stars, officially called PSR J1141-6545, is an ideal gravitational laboratory with mutual circulation lasting less than 5 hours.

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Although the PSR J1141-6545 is at a distanceseveral hundred quadrillion kilometers, now we know that the pulsar of this pair rotates about 2.5 times per second. The white dwarf in this unusual system drags space and time behind it, causing the orbital plane of the pulsar to tilt as it moves. Well, perhaps it would be interesting to see once the processes taking place in the vicinity of objects, next to which space itself can slow down and stretch. By the way, you can read more about what happens in such cases here.