Revealing the "8 buried worlds" of the universe

Two powerful observatories have joined forces to find eight cosmic objects hidden from Earth by their brighter companions.

Combining the power of the European Southern Observatory's (ESO) GRAVITY instrument mounted on the Very Large Telescope in Chile and the European Space Agency's (ESA) Gaia sky-mapping satellite, scientists have discovered eight of the most difficult objects to observe in the universe.

These are 5 brown dwarfs and 3 other faint stars, which are hidden by light.

Eight cosmic objects "hidden" by the companion star have been identified - Photo AI: Anh Thu

Eight cosmic objects "hidden" by the companion star have been identified - Photo AI: Anh Thu

It may sound counterintuitive, but in fact in a star system, planets and other objects located relatively far from the bright star are often identified in advance.

Because, in many cases, a star that is too active will spread its bright halo over nearby objects, making telescopes "dazzled".

In the new study, a team of scientists from ESO and ESA examined hundreds of thousands of stars suspected to have companions, with initial data recorded by Gaia.

GRAVITY's uniquely sharp and sensitive "eye" then helped sift through the bright halos around suspected stars and identify eight companions of eight bright stars, seven of which have not yet been discovered. ever known.

According to SciTech Daily, three of them are very small and faint stars.

The remaining five are brown dwarfs, cosmic objects that hover between star and planet status: Too large to be considered planets and have some star-like properties but too small to sustain a total reaction. Nuclear fusion inside the star-like core.

So, the brown dwarf can be considered a failed star, or a high-class planet.

One of the brown dwarfs discovered in this study orbits its companion star at a distance just shy of the Earth-Sun distance.

This is the first time a brown dwarf so close to its companion star has been directly imaged.

GRAVITY also measures the contrast between the companion star and the main star over a range of wavelengths in the infrared.

Combined with mass estimates, this allowed the team to assess their age. Surprisingly, two of the brown dwarfs turned out to be less bright than one would expect given their size and age.

A possible explanation for this could be that these failed stars themselves have an even smaller companion. However, it is unclear what type of cosmic object it could be.

The power of the Gaia - GRAVITY couple demonstrated through this research brings another hope: Searching for small planets, located near the parent star, hidden in the halo.

That type of planet includes rocky planets like our Earth. Therefore, this new path can also lead humanity to a world with life. 

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