Astronomers have discovered a giant star “blinking” toward the center of the Milky Way, more than 25,000 light-years away.
An international team of astronomers observed that the star (VVV-WIT-08) decreases in brightness by a factor of 30, so that it almost disappears from the sky for months and then lights up again, which is an extremely rare case, because usually many stars change in brightness because they Or obscured by another star in a binary system.
This system baffled scientists, who suggested in a study published in the latest issue of the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society), that the star (VVV-WIT-08) might belong to a new class of the binary star system “Blinking Giants”, in which a larger giant star is eclipsed A hundred times from the Sun once every few decades by an invisible orbiting companion, the companion, which may be another star or planet, is surrounded by a dark disk covering the giant star, causing it to disappear and reappear in the sky.
The discovery was led by Dr Lee Smith of the Cambridge Institute of Astronomy who works with scientists at the Universities of Edinburgh and Hertfordshire in Britain, the University of Warsaw in Poland, and Andrés Bello University in Chile.
Co-author Dr Sergei Koposov from the University of Edinburgh says: ‘It is amazing that we have just noticed a dark, large, stretchy object passing between us and the distant star and we can only guess what its source is.
Because the star is located in a dense region of the Milky Way, the researchers considered whether some unknown dark objects could simply drift in front of the giant star by chance. Dark objects floating around the galaxy so this scenario is a possibility.