An ultra-cool dwarf star system has been found by astronomers to have the tightest orbit ever recorded for a binary of its sort. This finding is a tremendous achievement for the astronomers who made it. The system known as LP 413-53AB is home to two unobservable stars that are located so close to one another that they complete one orbit around the other every 17 hours. The stars are ultra-cool dwarfs, which means that they have temperatures that are very low and that they produce the majority of their light in the infrared spectrum. Because of this, humans are unable to see them.
Despite the fact that astronomers had been aware of the system for decades until astrophysicist Chih-Chun Hsu analyzed it more thoroughly using an algorithm he had built to model stars based on spectral data, it was considered that the system consisted of a single star. Hsu made the remarkable discovery that the spectral lines shifted in opposing directions, which indicated the presence of two stars that were quite close to one another.
The scientists conducted their research on the star system at the Keck Observatory in Hawaii. Their findings revealed that the star system LP 413-53AB was comprised of a pair of ultra-cool dwarf stars that are thought to be several billion years old, making them around the same age as the Sun. The proximity of the stars showed that they had either moved naturally towards each other over time or that they had previously had a third partner that had been evicted, putting the surviving two companions closer together.
These extremely cold dwarfs were previously a bit of a mystery, but a series of observations that took place between March 2022 and January 2023 offered new insight on the subject. The group’s objective is that by applying this method, they may be able to unearth other binary systems that are as of yet undiscovered, so paving the way for additional investigation into these fascinating astronomical phenomena. This finding sheds light on the continuous efforts that are being made to study our cosmos and unearth previously unknown treasures that provide new insights into the secrets of space.
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