The discovery has been possible thanks to an international scientific campaign led by Spanish researchers
An international team of scientists has discovered a neutron star that steals matter from a neighboring star in a violent and unstable way. This process, previously only observed in very bright black holes, opens the door to studying hitherto unknown behavior of stars. Experts say that this discovery also allows us to understand what happens in the surroundings of these exotic objects. when they incorporate matter at very high rates.
As explained by the scientists who have led this discovery in a study published in the journal ‘Nature’, the star that stars in this discovery feeds on material that it subtracts from another star by means of a disk that emits large amounts of light, especially in rays X. In this process, known as accretion, often occur in violent eruptions during which the system will become up to a thousand times brighter.
This celestial object was discovered in 2018 during one of the eruptive episodes. At first, since the origin of these cosmic fireworks was unknown, the scientific community believed that the compact object must be a black hole. However, in the year 2020, the study of these thermonuclear explosions led to the identification of the presence of a solid surface on the compact object, thus confirming that Swift J1858 contained a neutron star.
Now, thanks to an international multi-telescope observing campaign led by the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands (IAC) and in collaboration with experts from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC), the analyzes have confirmed the strange behavior of this neutron star that behaves like a black hole. According to the scientists who have led this investigation, this study shows that ‘instabilities’ are a fundamental physical process.