Upcoming astronomers were the first to spot the star known as HD74423 in data that was collected by NASA’s planet-hunting space satellite TESS.
The star that pulsates on just one side was discovered in the Milky Way about 1500 light-years from Earth. It is the first of its kind to be found, and scientists expect to see many more similar systems as technology to listen inside the beating hearts of stars improves.
This star of interest, located about 1,500 light-years from Earth, was flagged to the astronomy community — but astronomers didn’t understand it either.
“What first caught my attention was the fact it was a chemically peculiar star,” said Simon Murphy, study co-author and a postdoctoral researcher from the Sydney Institute for Astronomy at the University of Sydney. “Stars like this are usually fairly rich with metals — but this is metal-poor, making it a rare type of hot star.”
Stars are known to pulsate, and even our Sun exhibits this kind of activity due to hot gas churning beneath the surface, causing oscillations. No matter the age of the star or how long or short these oscillations last, all pulsating stars are usually similar in that the pulsating can be seen on all sides of the Sun.
Dr. Murphy shared the find with international collaborators to discover others had started to study the star, known as HD74423, which is about 1.7 times the mass of the Sun.
“We’ve known theoretically that stars like this should exist since the 1980s,” said Don Kurtz, study co-author, and inaugural Hunstead Distinguished Visitor at the University of Sydney from the University of Central Lancashire in Britain. “I’ve been looking for a star like this for nearly 40 years, and now we have finally found one.” In
The scientists were also able to determine why this star is behaving in such a unique fashion. It’s one of two stars in a binary star system, partnered with a red dwarf star. Red dwarf stars are small, cool stars that are among the most common in our galaxy.
The team of scientists was also able to determine why this star is behaving in such a unique fashion. It’s one of two stars in a binary star system, partnered with a red dwarf star. Red dwarf stars are small, cool stars that are among the most common in our galaxy.
Upcoming astronomers studying TESS data made available to the public spotted the star while searching for the telltale signals of planets around other stars. Many exoplanets, or planets found outside of our solar system, have been found to orbit red dwarf stars.