Vampire Star On Feeding Rampage Discovered; Grows 1,600 Times In Size In Just 30 Days


Scientists and PhD students with the Australian National University discover 'vampire' star in the middle of a feeding frenzy 3,000 light-years away from Earth.

Written By Pragadish Kirubakaran | Mumbai | Updated On:
vampire star

Astronomers part of the Australian National University (ANU), have reportedly discovered a 'Vampire star' in the midst of a 'feeding frenzy'. In what can only be called unsolicited space wars, scientists have found evidence of a White Dwarf star near the Scorpius constellation, which they're flouting to be a "vampire" star.

Vampire star on a feeding frenzy

The Vampire star is reportedly 3,000 light-years away from Earth and is believed to be "gorging" on much smaller brown stars close to it. Discovered through the aid of automated programs that scout through archived data from the retired Kepler Space Telescope, the program was tasked with finding clues about mysterious "explosions" within its periphery in the universe, when it chanced upon this phenomenon.

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The unexpected discovery is significant as it could provide information previously not available to researchers. Understanding gamma-ray bursts, supernovae collapse, colliding neutrons and other wonderous phenomena have been observed through this telescope before.

The lead researcher part of a PhD program with ANU, Ryan Ridden-Harper, said the data spotted a dwarf nova comprising of a white dwarf, hogging on a brown dwarf companion. The data also revealed the brown dwarf star was 10 times smaller and was a "failed" star that looks like a planet.

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Kepler telescope observed star growing 1,600 times in size in 30 days

Harper, calling it a rare event, explained it was a 'super-outburst from a dwarf nova, which can be thought of like a vampire star system. Kepler's data observed the dwarf nova over a period of 30 days during which it rapidly became brighter, 1,600 times brighter to be precise. 

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'The increase in brightness was due to the brown dwarf getting gorged on by the white dwarf star. At its peak, the super-outburst may have reached up to 11,700 degrees Celcius', said Harper.

For added context, a white dwarf star is what stars like Earth's very own Sun will become after it exhausts its nuclear fuel. Near the end of its nuclear burning state, a white star can be spotted 'lurking in the darkness of space', said Harper, excited over the discovery his team uncovered.

(With Agency inputs)

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