Strange flashing star could be twins

Shane McGlaun - Feb 8, 2013, 7:00 am CST
Strange flashing star could be twins

Scientists have discovered a strange flashing star floating in space. The star system is dubbed LRLL 54361 and was discovered using the infrared Spitzer Observatory and the Hubble Space Telescope. The most interesting thing about star system is that the star appears to be flashing like a strobe light.

Researchers and astronomers have been investigating the system and believe that the cause of the flashing may be that what they have discovered isn’t a single star, but a newly formed pair of stars. The scientists believe that this pair of stars may be circling each other very closely causing the light to flash like a strobe. The researchers say that the discovery of this flashing star system is important because this is only the third “strobe light” object ever seen.

Astronomers say that the star system is about 950 light years from Earth and that the star produces a pulse of light every 25.34 days. The scientists also note that this particular stellar strobe is the most powerful ever discovered. Scientists are having a difficult time determining the exact source of the strobe phenomenon in the system.

The reason for the difficulty is that the star system is hidden behind a dense cloud of dust and a disc of material. The Spitzer infrared telescope was able to see into the cloud of dust and debris with enough resolution to determine that there were signs of a protostar or a pair of protostars in the system no more than a few hundred thousand years old. A current theory on the source of the flashing is that when the two stars pass close to each other in their orbits the cloud of dust and gas being dragged behind them falls onto the surface of one or both stars causing a flash of light.


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