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Researchers discover the smallest star – it is only slightly larger than Earth

2024-02-26T21:53:06.248Z

Highlights: Researchers discover the smallest star – it is only slightly larger than Earth. As of: February 26, 2024, 7:53 p.m By: Bjarne Kommnick Researchers report two new records in the universe - both in a binary star system. The size and orbits of the stars set new peaks. The discovery of a supermassive black hole also recently broke a record. The researchers started their observations with the Tsinghua University-Ma Huateng Telescope for Survey (TMTS) in 2020.



As of: February 26, 2024, 7:53 p.m

By: Bjarne Kommnick

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Researchers report two new records in the universe - both in a binary star system.

The size and orbits of the stars set new peaks.

Munich - Using the Tsinghua University-Ma Huateng Telescope for Survey (TMTS), astronomers have discovered stars that set two new records: the smallest star of all time and the smallest known period for an orbit of its companion.

This is the binary star system called TMTS J0526, located around 2,760 light-years away from Earth.

A research team published the results in a study in the journal

Nature Astronomy

.

Researchers discover record: J0526B is the smallest known star in the universe

One of the two stars was named J0526B by the researchers.

It is a tiny, hot dwarf star.

Its radius is just seven times larger than Earth, as

iflscience.com

reports.

The radius of Jupiter alone is 11.2 times larger than the radius of the Earth.

With its size, J0526B is the smallest star ever discovered.

For comparison: our star, the Sun, is about 110 times larger than Earth.

The discovery of a supermassive black hole also recently broke a record.

Stars J0526B and J0526A orbit each other every 20.5 minutes, the shortest known orbital period of any binary star system.

© Jingchuan Yu, Beijing Planetarium

Fastest orbit of a binary star system discovered – just 20.5 minutes

What is also remarkable about the star is that, as the smallest star to date, it still has around a third of the mass of the Sun.

This makes it around 350 times as heavy as Jupiter.

Together with the second star, namely J0526A, the binary star system sets another record: the two stars would complete one orbit around each other in just 20.5 minutes, the shortest known orbital period of all binary star systems.

However, as many people know, it takes the Earth around 365 days to orbit the sun.

The record for the fastest man-made object, however, is held by a NASA space probe.

J0526A is a heavier star that would weigh about 74 percent of the Sun.

It is rich in carbon and oxygen.

White dwarfs are the fate of stars, as the sun will probably experience in the future.

Not massive enough to go supernova, the small stars evolve into red giants before shedding their outer layers, revealing an extremely dense, degenerate core in a volume not much larger than our planet.

Researchers have examined 27 million stars since 2020

The researchers started their observations with the Tsinghua University-Ma Huateng Telescope for Survey (TMTS) in 2020 and have examined more than 27 million stars by the end of 2023.

No shorter orbit duration was discovered than that of the binary star system TMTS J0526.

Follow-up observations with the Keck telescope in Hawaii and the Gran Telescopio Canarias (GTC) on La Palma would have subsequently confirmed this theory.

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The observations also indicated that the two stars would deform with each orbit.

The gravitational pull would affect the smaller, brighter star and its brightness with each orbit.

Source: merkur

All news articles on 2024-02-26

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