NASA’s Kepler spots a star slurping up a planet

  • NASA’s Kepler spots a star slurping up a planet

NASA’s Kepler spots a star slurping up a planet

That disk reached up to 11,700 degrees Celsius at the peak of the super-outburst.

The team prepares to resume digging Kepler data, as well as information from another exoplanet hunter, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) mission, in hunt of other visitors on the solar system. Astronomers acknowledged Friday that they've identified a previously unknown and unexplained dwarf nova that is feasting on its neighbor.

According to a NASA press release, the newly-discovered dwarf nova experienced a "super-outburst", during which it brightened by a factor of 1,600 times in less than one day.

This star system consists of a "White Dwarf" star with a "Brown Dwarf" companion that's roughly 10 percent the size of its rapacious neighbour. A white dwarf is the core remnant of an old, dying star with a mass similar to the Sun but the volume of Earth.

For added context, a white dwarf star is what stars like Earth's very own Sun will become after it exhausts its nuclear fuel. An individual structure may go for quite a long time or decades between upheavals, making it a test to get one in the demonstration.

After launching in March 2009, the Kepler space telescope searched for exoplanets by looking for stars that dimmed as planets crossed them.

Fortunately, the same design performs it ideal for finding other astronomical transient objects. They are near such an extent that the white smaller person's solid gravity takes material from the darker little person, sucking its substance away like a vampire.

It became once excellent fortune that Kepler became once within the staunch place apart of dwelling on the staunch time when the feeding frenzy came about, ready to capture every component. Discovered through the aid of automated programs that scout through archived data from the retired Kepler Space Telescope, the program was tasked with finding clues about mysterious "explosions" within its periphery in the universe, when it chanced upon this phenomenon. Kepler was the main instrument that could have seen it since the structure was excessively near the Sun from Earth's perspective at the time.

The scientist and his colleagues were looking for "extremely fast explosions outside our galaxy that may only exist for a few hours", although the events were theoretical, which meant that Ridden-Harper didn't know if there would be any to find them were.

Ryan Ridden-Harper of the Space Telescope Science Institute, said the discovery had been something of an "accident". We weren't particularly attempting to seek out a massive-outburst. Standard theories of accretion disk physics don't predict this phenomenon, which has subsequently been observed in two other dwarf nova super-outbursts.

"These dwarf nova techniques were studied for a long time, so recognizing something contemporary is rather tough", acknowledged Ridden-Harper.

Peter Garnavich of the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, "The constant comments by Kepler/K2, and now TESS, of these powerful stellar systems, provides us to examine the earliest hours of the outburst, a time-domain that is nearly impracticable to move from ground-based observatories". "We see accretion disks all over - from newly forming stars to supermassive black holes - so it's important to understand them".

This form of dwarf nova system is uncommon, with most fascinating about 100 identified examples.

"The detection of this object raises hopes for detecting even more rare events hidden in Kepler data", said co-author Armin Rest of STScI.