Surprise New Type of Variable Stars Discovered [PHOTO]
The universe is clearly still a great mystery to humankind and now a new variable star located 7,000 light years from Earth has been discovered, further unraveling the great mystery of the unknown.
A research team from the Geneva Observatory in Switzerland discovered a new class of variable stars by measuring minute variations in stellar brightness, using an ultra-precise 1.2 meter Leonhard Euler Telescope over a period of seven years, according to a recently released report.
Their findings were published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics on June 12, 2013 under the title "Stellar variability in open clusters I. A new class of variable stars in NGC 3766."
"The very existence of this new class of variable stars is a challenge to astrophysicists," Sophie Saesen, a team member from the Geneva Observatory, said in a statement. "Current theoretical models predict that their light is not supposed to vary periodically at all, so our current efforts are focused on finding out more about the behavior of this strange new type of star."
Many stars are known as variable or pulsating stars, because their apparent brightness changes over time. How the brightness of these stars changes depends in complex ways on the properties of their interiors. This phenomenon has allowed the development of a whole branch of astrophysics called asteroseismology, where astronomers can "listen" to these stellar vibrations, in order to probe the physical properties of the stars and get to know more about their inner workings.
"We have reached this level of sensitivity thanks to the high quality of the observations, combined with a very careful analysis of the data, but also because we have carried out an extensive observation program that lasted for seven years," Nami Mowlavi, the leader of the research team, said in a statement. "It probably wouldn't have been possible to get so much observing time on a bigger telescope."