Astronomers saw for the first time that the white dwarf sharply dimmed

Astronomers saw for the first time how a white dwarf sharply becomes bright and then dims. The phenomenon was recorded

via NASA's TESS orbiter. The star was part of the TW Pictoris binary system: it is located at a distance of 1.4 thousand light years from Earth.

White dwarfs are old stars exhaustedthermonuclear fuel, but their mass is not enough to turn into a neutron star. The star system observed by the authors of the new work included a white dwarf and an ordinary star. Both objects suddenly disappeared in less than 30 minutes.

White dwarf absorbs matter that fallsonto it as a result of accretion, that is, pulling from the companion star. This creates a large disc that provides a constant flow of material. This means that the luminosity of the white dwarf should not change significantly over short periods of time.

The authors suggested that the discovered phenomenonmay be associated with a slowdown in the flow of matter. This is due to changes in the star's magnetic field. This feature is often recorded in pulsars, the brightness of which can change in a second.

Researchers are going to study this process in detail and understand what it affects.

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