11 amazing new discoveries made by astronomers and scientists from twin stars to a shocking triple star system, here are the facts!
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6. A Triple Star System
Last month in July, researchers found a new planet that simultaneously orbits 3 stars at once in a triple star system. The new planet titled HD 131399Ab is located in the constellation Centaurus, which is approximately 340 light years from Earth. Scientists have calculated that if someone were to look up from the planet the three orbiting stars would appear as full and bright as the full moon does here on earth. As a point of reference, Star A is about 80 percent larger and almost 8 times brighter than our own sun. The stars are visible for only 550 earth years of the planet’s orbit, which means a full orbit is 1,100 earth years! This new find shows that planets are able to exist in different layouts than what is believed
5. The Expansion of the Universe
A couple of months ago it was announced that researchers had discovered that the universe is expanding at a much faster rate than what was initially thought. They were able to determine that its expansion is around 5 to 9 percent greater than what was previously expected. The rate of the universe’s expansion is known as the Hubble Constant, named after the famous American astronomer Edwin Hubble, which is now at a value of 45.5 miles per second per megaparsec. And to give a better understanding, a megaparsec is the equivalence of 3.26 million light years. This could help aid in the understanding of materials such as dark matter, dark energy, and dark radiation.
4. A White Dwarf Time Bomb
This alluring image was captured by the Hubble Telescope that depicts the aftermath of an exploding white dwarf. The star had detonated 160,000 light-years away and what we can see are the hot gases being blasted throughout space. Now this supernova wasn’t caused by the star running out of hydrogen, as is the case with half of supernova explosions, but rather as a result of stealing. That’s right, the white dwarf was on it’s way to burning out when it managed to steal the neighboring gasses from a nearby star and create a new outer layer in the process. This made the star grow and become too unstable, resulting in a massive eruption.
3. Twin Stars
It was discovered in late 2014 that what astronomers initially believed was one giant mass was really two separate stars that were orbiting each other very closely at a speed of 621,000 miles per hour. The two blue stars, both named MY Camelopardalis, have been identified as being incredibly much youngerーthey’re only 2 million years oldーthan most of the other formed stars and are each roughly 30 times bigger than our sun. This is one of the largest binary star systems that we know of. These two stars are set to eventually collide and form one giant star, which is how scientists believe a lot of the older stars in the universe came to be, however, no one knows when.
2. Dragonfly 44
What separates this galaxy from our very own Milky Way is that Astronomers have discovered that it is almost entirely made up of dark matter, 99.99 percent of it to be exact. For those of you who don’t know, dark matter is an invisible and mysterious material that has puzzled scientists for years. They aren’t quite sure what it is but they believe it’s real because of the effects its gravity has on the other things in space and it makes up about 80 percent of the universe. The galaxy was first spotted back in 2015 with the help of the Dragonfly Telephoto Array in New Mexico that is able to look at objects in space that aren’t bright enough for other telescopes. The array achieves this by using a combination of eight telephoto lenses and cameras.
1. Centauri B
Astronomers have recently discovered that there is an Earth-sized planet that lies orbiting the red dwarf star known as Proxima Centauri. The planet dubbed as Centauri b is located 4.2 light years from our own solar system and is said to be found in the star’s “habitable zone”. Researchers have been trying to look for planets near Proxima Centauri for the last 15 years but have had no such luck, until now. How did this planet go undetected for so long when astronomers have found other planets that are located even further than Centauri b? The reason is said to be “sparse sampling and the longer term variability of the star”. Either way, scientists are now going to focus their efforts to see if there is any potential here to support life.