This is the first time astronomers at the U.S. National Science Foundation’s Ground-Based Optical and Infrared Astronomy Research and Development Center, NOIRLab, have observed an extremely rare binary star system in the Milky Way.
This star system is considered to have the potential to create a star kilonova explosion – Extremely powerful explosions can form following the merger of neutron stars.
Simulated image of the CPD-29 2176 binary star system.
Simulated image of the binary star system CPD-29 2176. (Source: CNN)
Researchers said last week that through the use of data from SMARTS telescope with a diameter of 1.5 meters at the Cerro Tololo Observatory in Chile, they discovered this extremely rare binary star system. The results of the discovery were published in the journal Nature.
The binary star system mentioned above, also known as CPD-29 2176is very rare because there are only around ten star systems of this type in our entire Milky Way.
CPD-29 2176 is located approximately 11,400 light years from Earth and was first discovered by the Neil Gehrels Observatory of the United States Space Agency (NASA).
After further observations with telescopes, scientists were able to deduce the orbital characteristics and the type of star that created this system: a neutron star created after the explosion of a magnetic supernova. The star has had most of its core stripped (ultra-stripped supernova) and is in a very close orbit to another giant star, which is becoming a similar supernova.
A supernova explosion from a star that has been stripped of most of its central outer layer is essentially an explosion that ends the life of a giant star whose nearby star has been stripped of most of its its atmosphere on the surface.
“The current neutron star did not eject its “companion” from its orbit. A supernova explosion of a star that was stripped of most of its central envelope is a reasonable explanation for why the stars lie in such a tightly bound orbit”, “said the study’s lead author, Noel Richardson, in a statement. “To be able to create a kilonova in the future, the remaining star would also have to undergo a similar supernova explosion. So two neutron stars (formed after these supernova explosions) can collide and merge.”
It will take at least another million years for the giant star in this binary system to end its life as a giant supernova and become a second neutron star.
Researchers say these two neutron stars will have to be very close to each other before they can merge. They also note that a kilonova explosion would create much stronger gravitational waves and leave behind large quantities of heavy elements, including silver and gold.
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This is the first time astronomers have worked at the Science Foundation’s ground-based optical and infrared astronomy research and development center, NOIRLab…