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A colossal flash has occurred on a tiny star

A celestial body, which barely has enough mass to be called a star, suddenly erupted in a flash of incredible power. Astronomers wonder how this is possible.

The discovery is described in a scientific article published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.

Star J0331-27 is located 783 light years from Earth. It belongs to the spectral class L – the class of very small and very cold luminaries, which barely had enough mass to start thermonuclear reactions in their depths. The mass of J0331-27 is only 8% of the sun, and the surface temperature is only 1800 degrees Celsius (compared to 5500 degrees on the Sun).

There is a rule: the smaller the star, the more powerful the outbreaks occurring on it. So, the red dwarfs of class M can boast of real cosmic cataclysms that call into question the suitability of their planets for life. But astronomers did not expect that this pattern applies even to extremely cold L-stars.

According to experts, the flare is due to a sharp restructuring of the magnetic field structure in a small area of ​​the star’s surface. In this case, the energy stored in the magnetic lines is released and heats the surrounding substance. The magnetic field itself is created by plasma – a hot gas consisting of charged particles. Previously, experts believed that the surface plasma of L-dwarfs is too cold to generate a field capable of powerful “fireworks”.

Processing the data of the XMM-Newton space x-ray telescope, the authors found a flash recorded on July 5, 2008. It lasted a few minutes. During this time, 2 ”” 1033 erg of energy was released in the X-ray range alone. This is ten times the energy of the largest flares on the Sun and only half the total energy released by our star in a second (!).

Scientists call events of this magnitude superflares. They are common with the hotter M class red dwarfs, but not with the cooler L stars.

“This is the most interesting scientific part of the discovery, because we did not expect the stars [from the class] of L-dwarfs to store enough energy in their magnetic fields to cause such flashes,” admits Beate Stelzer of the University of Tübingen .

The discovery was made thanks to the XMM-Newton X-ray telescope.
Illustration from esa.int

Prior to this, superflares in L-dwarfs were detected several times in visible light. However, for the first time such an event was recorded in x-rays. Moreover, J0331-27 in general became just the second L-dwarf, from which terrestrial telescopes generally caught x-ray radiation.

After analyzing the data of other observatories, the authors found the optical radiation of this outbreak. But observing it in the x-ray range is extremely important. The fact is that visible light comes from the surface of the body, and x-rays from its atmosphere. This will help astronomers figure out how such a phenomenon nevertheless became possible.

“This is a good question,” says Stelzer. “We just don’t know [the answer]. Nobody knows.”

Riddles don’t end there. The fact is that in all known stars faint flashes occur much more often than strong ones. However, XMM-Newton observed J0331-27 for a total of about 40 days and during this time did not detect any other flashes, although the sensitivity of the instrument made it possible to notice them.

It seems that the magnetic field of the L-dwarf gradually accumulates energy and at once releases it in one powerful cataclysm. This behavior is completely unusual for stars, and now astrophysicists have to deal with new facts.

New X-ray flares on L stars can help with this if they are detected. Stelzer and colleagues made their discovery by processing the XMM-Newton observation archive. It includes information on 400 thousand variable sources discovered by the telescope in 13 years. Not all data has been processed yet, so new surprises may well await scientists.

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Space

A “Meteorite” falls in Nigeria destroying more than 100 houses and leaving a huge crater

On the morning of Saturday 28 March 2020, a large meteorite crashed in Akure (Nigeria), destroying more than 100 houses and leaving a 21-meter crater on the ground. Experts from the Awbaowo University of Obafemi (Nigeria) denied the local police who initially claimed that a bomb explosion had created the 21-meter crater.

According to Nigerian sources, the explosion destroyed the Akure-OVO road and seriously damaged dozens of houses, from 50 to 100, as well as schools and churches.

It is interesting that initially the authorities denied the meteorite’s fall and claimed that the cause for the explosion was a truck with explosives, which was transported to a neighboring state. Ondo State Governor Rotimi Akeredolu said the blast was an accident.

Then the version changed and the truck was no longer just transporting explosives, but it was supposedly a terrorist act.

Now, a team of experts and scientists came to the conclusion that everything that happened was a fall of a large meteorite.

The blast that shook Akure, the state capital of Ondo, on Saturday, was caused by a giant cosmic rock, a team of experts concluded.

Led by Adepelumi Adekunle, a professor of geophysics and seismic engineering at Obafemi Avolovo University, the team said that the meteorite entered the atmosphere of our planet at a “43 degree angle”.

Adepelumi Adekunle’s report reads:

“My research team conducted a detailed analysis of the impact site. A round impact crater was discovered with a diameter of 21 m and a depth of 7.8 m, which indicates a natural phenomenon.

– It was found that water is oozing from the edges of the crater. Preliminary field studies of vibration, noise, seismicity, analysis of water, radioactivity, rocks and soil were carried out.

“Our findings suggest that the impact of the explosion covers a radius of 1 km from the vicinity of the crater.” No signs of fire or burning were found in the vicinity. “

“No signs of radioactive radiation were found within the crater and in the immediate vicinity of it. Field data indicate that a meteorite from the asteroid belt was moving at high speed from space, and fell at an angle of 43 degrees in the southwestern part of the country “

A local source said that after the incident, no one was missing and no one was killed. The most interesting thing in the report is the mention that “unusual stones and strange metal objects” were found inside the crater. So what actually fell in Nigeria – a meteorite or a UFO?

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Space

Something strange is happening with the interstellar comet 2I / Borisov

When astronomers see something in the Universe that at first glance seems to be one of a kind, this will certainly cause great excitement and attention.

This mysterious guest from the depths of space first attracted the attention of celestial observers at the end of August 2019, when it was officially discovered sweeping through the solar system along a trajectory indicating interstellar origin.

After analyzing the object, astronomers identified it as a comet called Comet 21 / Borisov, which is the first identified comet and the second observable interstellar alien after the infamous Oumuamua, who arrived here from another star.

NASA claims that they do not know where and when the comet began to move towards our Sun. Gravity of the Sun slightly deflects its trajectory, but cannot capture it due to the shape of the orbit and its high speed of about 160,934 km / h.

Hubble showed that the comet’s heart, a loose accumulation of ice and dust particles, was probably no more than 975 meters across, about the length of nine football fields.

Now, this month, astronomers have discovered that something strange is happening by checking the object.

In the next video, nemesis maturity explains what happens to this mysterious interstellar guest.

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Space

Hundreds of exoplanets with two suns discovered

Until recently, in search of inhabited exoplanets, binary star systems were completely undeservedly ignored. Exoplanets with two suns have long become familiar places where the events of science fiction novels and films are unfolding.

One of the most striking and well-known examples of this is the desert planet Tatooine, the birthplace of Anakin and Luke Skywalker in the famous Star Wars movie saga. But only in 2011, NASA scientists using the Kepler space telescope were able to provide clear evidence that such exoplanets that revolve around two stars at once really exist. The planet discovered then was called Kepler-16b.

Despite the impressive discovery, scientists continued to believe that such planetary systems are extremely rare due to the complex attraction of two suns at once. But this opinion turned out to be completely wrong, writes astrophysicist Paul M. Sutter in an article for Space.com. This was revealed as a result of a new analysis of millions of stars and the discovery of exoplanets that have been recorded and cataloged by the ESA space telescope since 2013.

In fact, there are only two scenarios in which planets cope with the complex gravitational forces of two stars. If the stars are located very far apart, the planet can rotate around one star – then the other will be visible from the surface of the planet as a brightly shining star in the sky. In another case, both stars are close to each other – then the planet rotates at a safe distance around its double sun, as if it were just one celestial body.
These seemingly unbelievable stellar constellations are likely to occur much more often than might be expected.

Researchers have discovered during their targeted search already 300 exoplanets that could “boast” of double suns. Until now, astronomical science has actually ignored binary stars to search for (inhabited) exoplanets, because scientists considered their occurrence extremely unlikely in principle. In the case of discovered 300 planets, it is most likely a question of constellations, in which binary stars were incorrectly interpreted by the telescope as single stars.

Sutter speaks of decades of scientific confusion and uncertainty: “Since we did not often pay attention to the search for planets in binary solar systems, we had little chance of finding them. We didn’t look for anything like that, therefore we didn’t find it. The researcher believes that the realization that such double suns are very common should definitely be considered when searching for new exoplanets.

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