The supposedly dead ‘Tasmanian Devil’ star comes back to life

On September 7, 2022, the Zwicky Transit Facility discovered a new deep space transit object, about a billion light-years from Earth. The object was so bright, a team of astronomers now believe it is a star back from the dead.

The object was a star: a luminous fast blue light star, or LFBOT for short. The star is called AT2022tsd, but it is affectionately called the Tasmanian Devil. Now, a team of researchers hypothesize that the flare activity exhibited by the object and other similar objects is caused by either black holes or neutron stars, which are some of the densest objects in the universe. It was an analysis of the star and its repeated explosions published This week in nature.

“We don’t think anything else could produce these kind of flares,” said Anna Hu, an astronomer at Cornell University and lead author of the study. launch. “This resolves years of debate about what fuels this type of explosion, and reveals an unusually direct way to study the activity of stellar corpses.”

The Tasmanian Devil is an extragalactic optical transient object, in plain terms, an object that temporarily shines in the sky and exists far beyond the borders of our galaxy. The demon only shone over a period of several months, for several minutes at a time, a short period compared to supernovae, the most common extragalactic transient phenomenon, which can shine for weeks.

The devil resembles a “cow”, a fast blue visual passerby It flashed in the sky again in 2018. The cow, dubbed AT2018cow for a long time, was thought to have been created by a black hole or neutron star at the time, based on the frequency of its X-ray emissions.

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Black holes and neutron stars are extremely compact objects that form in the wake of stars. When stars die, their cores can collapse, forming denser objects. Black holes are so dense that light cannot escape their gravity beyond the event horizon, hence their name. But the bright, fleeting flashes detected by the recent astronomy team indicate that these dense final stages of stars were still pulsing.

“The body is not just sitting there, it is active and doing things that we can detect,” Ho said. “We think these flares could come from one of these newly formed bodies, giving us a way to study their properties when they were just forming.”

Artistic illustration of a Fast Blue Optical Transient (FBOT) vehicle driver.

The Devil is the latest in this unique group of light sources. (There is also “Koala” Observed by ZTF in 2018.) The names of the objects do not indicate any particular characteristics they exhibit; Instead, they are produced by quirks in the astronomical naming process (the astronomical name for a cow ends in “cow,” a koala ends in “kwla,” and a devil’s name ends in “tsd.”).

So, although the Tasmanian Devil exhibits tantrums similar to the invasive marsupials from Looney Tunes (apparently named after the actual mammal), its name is derived from a fun trend in astrological nomenclature.

“I think the Cow is just the beginning of what is to come,” Dheeraj Basham, an MIT astronomer and lead author of a 2021 paper examining the Cow, told Gizmodo at the time. “More of these objects would provide new insight.” A window into these intense explosions.

In fact, Satan is the next being in this line of rapid blue visual transients. As more is discovered, researchers can identify extreme and strange behaviors that signal the end of the star.

more: Astrophysicists have discovered the merger of black holes and neutron stars, this time for sure

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