The Universe is odd enough, but the more humanity explores it, the odder it becomes. Only a century ago, astronomers believed that our galaxy is the only one in the entire Cosmos. But the American astronomer Edwin Hubble made the huge discovery that there are countless other galaxies out there.
And discoveries keep coming every year in astronomy, and now we should focus our attention on WDJ0551+4135, a newfound dying star 150 light-years away from Earth that has a shape like none other ever seen before.
It guzzled a neighboring star
This is the explanation that an international team of scientists brought. WDJ0551+4135 merged with another white dwarf more than a billion years ago.
But of course, you may wonder how was such a merge possible in the first place. The two white dwarfs were orbiting around one another, and ultimately gravity won and brought them too close.
Mark Hollands, who is the lead author of the study himself, confirmed that scientists have never seen before a star like WDJ0551+4135. He further explained:
We have a composition that we can’t explain through normal stellar evolution.
The only way you can explain it is if it was formed through a merger of two white dwarfs.
But the surprising news doesn’t end when it comes to the WDJ0551+4135 white dwarf. The star has large amounts of carbon, which baffled the scientists, as Hollands suggests:
You don’t expect to see this combination of hydrogen and carbon at the same time as there should be a thick layer of helium in between that prohibits that.
The unusual star was first found by the European Space Agency’s Gaia telescope in 2018, an orbiting observatory surveying space. After some study, it was concluded that the cosmic object was a large white dwarf, a lot bigger than expected.
The study was published in the journal Nature Astronomy.