A group of international astronomers has recently reported discovering one of the strangest-looking stars in the universe; a mysterious teardrop-shaped sun that’s unlike anything we’ve ever seen.
The discovery comes after a 40-year search, resulting in the successful discovery of a first-of-its-kind star that “pulsates on just one side. The teardrop-shaped star was found after astronomer harnessed a plethora of data.
“We’ve known theoretically that stars like this should exist since the 1980s,” said astronomer Don Kurtz of the University of Central Lancashire in the UK.
“I’ve been looking for a star like this for nearly 40 years and now we have finally found one.”
The discovery saw amateur astronomer play an important role in making the discovery. The odd “one-side pulsator” was found in the Milky Way galaxy at an approximate distance of a1,500 light-years from Earth.
One light-year equals to around 6 trillion miles. The star, dubbed HD74423 is believed to be around 1.7 times the mass of our sun.
In addition to its strange shape, the star seems to be different from other stars because of its chemistry, astronomers explained.
“What first caught my attention was the fact it was a chemically peculiar star,” revealed in a statement co-author Simon Murphy, Ph.D. from the Sydney Institute for Astronomy at the University of Sydney.
“Stars like this are usually fairly rich in metals – but this is metal-poor, making it a rare type of hot star.”
Pulsating stars have been known in the astronomy wor4ld for a long time. However, stars that oscillate just over one hemisphere are an entirely new thing. All other stars discovered before HD74423, astronomers witnessed oscillation on a global scale; in other words, over the entire surface of the star.
However, HD74423 is plain weird, but not inexplicable.
As revealed by the researchers, HD74423 is located within a binary system accompanied by a red dwarf.
“Its close companion distorts the oscillations with its gravitational pull,” the researchers revealed in the statement.
“The clue that led to its discovery came from citizen scientists poring over public data from NASA’s TESS satellite, which is hunting for planets around distant stars.”
The odd teardrop shape of the star has been explained by astronomers who maintain that its odd shape is caused by the orbital period of the binary system, which is less than two days. HD74423’s shape is caused by the powerful gravitational pull of its companion red dwarf star.
The gravity exerted by the red dwarf is pulling the star into a tear dropped shape. But astronomers have revealed that it isn’t just HD74423 that being pulled on its side. The Red Dwarf’s powerful gravitational pull appears to be distorting the larger star’s oscillations.
The astronomers revealed that although this discovery is a first of its kind, similar stars most likely exist in the galaxy and universe in general.
“As the binary stars orbit each other, we see different parts of the pulsating star,” revealed astronomer David Jones. “Sometimes we see the side that points towards the companion star, and sometimes we see the outer face.”
The find has been reported in a study published in the Journal Nature Astronomy.