Who said that all stars have to look like spheres? Of course, that’s how we all know them to look, but astronomy keeps providing us surprises as it did since its every beginning. From learning a century ago that our galaxy is just one among billions of other galaxies, and to finding exoplanets where it rains with iron, discoveries that baffle the minds of astronomers keep on coming.
One such discovery is the newfound star HD74423, one that has a shape not seen before. You could say that it resembles a quince or a droplet. The star is located 1,500 light-years away from us, and it’s 1.7 times the mass of the sun. It was discovered by searching for data gathered by NASA’s planet-hunting TESS satellite.
Why the odd shape?
The pulsating of HD74423 happens on just one hemisphere, and that’s where the droplet or quince shape comes from. Until the discovery of the peculiar star, scientists have seen pulsations occurring on all sides of a star. However, some of them suspected that the pulsating could also happen in a different way, as co-author Don Kurtz, a Professor from the University of Central Lancashire, says:
We’ve known theoretically that stars like this should exist since the 1980s,
You can admire the star HD74423 below, in all its glory:
But why does the pulsating happen in only one direction? The answer is simple: the star is located near a red dwarf that causes the one-side pulsating due to its gravitational force.
Fewer metal elements than scientists expected
Another thing HD74423 is peculiar for is its composition since the star has way fewer metal elements than astronomers expected. Dr. Simon Murphy, who is a co-author from the Sydney Institute for Astronomy in Australia, confirms this by saying:
What first caught my attention was the fact it was a chemically peculiar star,
Stars like this are usually fairly rich with metals — but this is metal-poor, making it a rare type of hot star.
The scientists published their discovery this week in the journal Nature Astronomy.