Journal: The Astrophysical Journal Letters
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Taking the pulse of an exotic star system
© MARK GARLICK/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY/Getty
An international team of scientists have studied the pulses of light emitted by a white-dwarf pulsar, providing new insights into its behaviour and structure.
AR Scorpii, which sits around 380 light-years from Earth, is the first white-dwarf pulsar to be discovered in the universe. It is a binary star system containing a burnt-out, rapidly spinning remnant of a star called a white dwarf, which pummels its neighbouring red dwarf star with charged particles, causing the system to emit pulses of light.
By analysing data provided by the Kepler K2 space observatory as well as Earth-based telescopes, physicists from the University College Cork in Ireland, in collaboration with colleagues from America, have observed the long-term stability of the pulses emitted from AR Scorpii.
The work shines new light on the structure and behaviour of this unique star system.
- The Astrophysical Journal Letters 845, L7 (2017). doi: 10.3847/2041-8213/aa8300