Explosion on a white dwarf observed

Sat, 14 May 2022 06:51:05 GMT
Space Daily

Erlangen, Germany (SPX) May 13, 2022 When stars like our Sun use up all their fuel, they shrink to...

Sometimes such dead stars flare back to life in a super hot explosion and produce a fireball of X-ray radiation.

A research team led by FAU has now been able to observe such an explosion of X-ray light for the very first time.

"These X-ray flashes last only a few hours and are almost impossible to predict, but the observational instrument must be pointed directly at the explosion at exactly the right time," explains the astrophysicist.

X-ray explosions such as this were predicted by theoretical research more than 30 years ago, but have never been observed directly until now.

Unless the white dwarf is accompanied by a star that is still burning, that is, and when the enormous gravitational pull of the white dwarf draws hydrogen from the shell of the accompanying star.

The X-ray radiation of an explosion like this is what hit the detectors of eROSITA on July 7, 2020 producing an overexposed image.

"Using the model calculations we originally drew up while supporting the development of the X-ray instrument, we were able to analyze the overexposed image in more detail during a complex process to gain a behind the scenes view of an explosion of a white dwarf, or nova," explains Jorn Wilms.

Since these novae run out of fuel quite quickly, they cool rapidly and the X-ray radiation becomes weaker until it eventually becomes visible light, which reached Earth half a day after the eROSITA detection and was observed by optical telescopes.

Since these novae are only visible after the X-ray flash, it is very difficult to predict such outbreaks and it is mainly down to chance when they hit the X-ray detectors.

SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter$5+ Billed Monthly SpaceDaily Contributor $5 Billed Once credit card or paypal Hyperfast white dwarf stars provide clues for understanding supernovae Tokyo, Japan May 08, 2022.

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