A group of scientists from the University of California at Santa Barbara claims to have discovered a new type of pulsating star. This new class of stars seems to vary the brightness every five minutes. In the study, published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters, the researchers, led by Thomas Kupfer, explain the results of their analysis.
In the press release on the university website is Kupfer himself, a researcher at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics (KITP) of the same faculty, to explain the discovery. First of all, he reports that the pulsating stars, or even variable stars, are many and indeed even our Sun, even on a very small scale, performs pulsations. Around a variation of brightness of about 10%, however, we begin to talk about pulsating stars and those that see the major changes in the University are defined radial pulsators that seem to “breathe in and breathe” changing in size.
By studying these mutations in detail, it is possible to learn a great deal about these stars. And that’s exactly what Kupfer did that set out to search for binary stars with pulsation periods of less than an hour. They found four pulsating stars in which great changes in brightness occur within a few minutes and were not binary systems.
Checking the data, they realized that it was a new kind of pulsating stars that had hot button substances. The hot substances are stars that have “completed the fusion of all the hydrogen in their helium nucleus” and this is “because they are so small and can oscillate so quickly,” as stated by Lars Bildsten, director of the KITP and another author of the study.
They are very hot, much warmer than the Sun, although they have a mass between 20 and 50% of that of the same Sun. The pulsating hot substances were never predicted theoretically but, once analyzed, they adapted without problems to the main models of stellar evolution.