5 Most Extraordinary and Weird Stars found in the Galaxy

The Milky Way can be assumed to be a massive city of stars.  It’s home to approximately 200 billion stellar residents and researchers have been working for centuries to map and examine every last one of them.  Like a continuing survey of the sky, astrophysicists devote their careers venturing into our galaxy’s deepest neighbourhoods — and let’s face it: if you spend time traveling around a huge city, you’ll meet a few weirdos in the process.  Our galaxy is no different.

Hiding in our sky are some stellar stars worth looking for.  These stars aren't your run-of-the-mill globes of hydrogen and helium.  They appear to play by their own rules, standing out among their neighbours as true oddballs, unapologetic in their individuality.  In defying our prospects and even our common sense, they force astrophysicists to review the limits of what is physically potential and, sometimes, to rethink their core suppositions about our universe. Let’s look at a few distinguished ones:

Stars Concealed in Clouds of Metal

The idea of stars concealed in metal clouds sounds like an idea for a bad 50’s sci-fi film.  Be that as it may, they aren't sci-fi at all.  These unusual stars are really a type of white dwarf — the small, super-dense leftovers of antique stars like our sun.  By “super-dense,” of course, we mean that a teaspoon of matter would weigh around 15 tons (over 13000 kg).  Crazy, right?  Now visualize the same freakishly dense object, only it’s enclosed in metallic clouds.  Extraordinarily, stars like this really exist.

It’s worth noticing that the term “metallic clouds” may be a bit ambiguous because clouds on a white dwarf don't at all resemble clouds on Earth.  Here, clouds are seen as white, fluffy collections of water vapour; But on these distinctive stars, their super-high density and surface gravity make metallic clouds — usually made of lead and zirconium, with other kinds in smaller concentrations — 100 km thick, weighing up to 100 billion metric tons.

Astrophysicists think the clouds can cover most, if not all of, a star’s surface, possibly taking on a bluish-hue.  No one knows for sure how they look up close, but their presence alone is unquestionably jaw-dropping.

An Egg-Shaped Star

Most of us have seen Vega, the 5th brightest star in the night sky.  But up close, Vega appears nothing like a usual star.  It revolves so fast — over 600,000 miles per hour at the equator — that it lumps into an oblate, ovular shape, kind of like a fat blue egg.  Researchers approximate that Vega is rotating at about 90% of its maximum potential rotational speed.  It if were rotating just 10% faster, the spin would overpower Vega’s gravity and tear it apart.

As if being egg-shaped isn't strange enough, Vega doesn't shine consistently like our Sun either; rather, the star’s expanded equator shines less luminous than the poles, giving it a dark hoop on its surface.  Researchers think the stripe is a result of temperature differences caused by Vega’s insane revolving speed.  Since the equator is cooler, it shines less brightly, presenting a darker colour in contrast with the poles.

In other words, not only does Vega appear like a blue egg: it looks like a striped, ornamented blue Easter egg.  Think about that next time you spot the constellation Lyra, where Vega outshines close to other stars, and hides its strange secret from the naked eye.

Two Stars so Close Together, They Touch

Binary star systems are common in our galaxy.  In fact, researchers guess that 85% of stars in the Milky Way are discovered in multi-star systems.  But two stars really touching each other?  As awkward as it appears, the binary system MY Camelopardalis is experiencing just that.  These two hot blue stars are factually rubbing against each other as they circle around a common point.

Astrophysicists believe MY Camelopardalis is about to combine into a single gigantic star.  When the fusion ultimately happens, the outcome may be a remarkable blast of energy.  Or it could just create a larger star that quickly burns through its residual fuel supply; No one can say for sure

A Star with Spiral Arms

Spiral arms are typically linked with entire galaxies, but the star SAO 206462 is rare in the fact that it has its own set of spiral arms — each covering 14 billion miles across (twice as long as Pluto’s orbit about the Sun).  As odd as it might sound, astrophysicists posit that we are observing a protoplanetary disk, where new planets are in making.

The presence of the disk itself isn't strange or rare — in fact, protoplanetary discs are often spotted around young stars in our galaxy.  But its shape is exclusive, even among similar discs.  Researchers have before discovered rings, divots, and gaps in disks around other young stars, and they consider the shapes are made by the force of gravity.

In SAO 206462’s case, researchers consider each spiral arm comprises one new planet.  The finding of the spiral arms was both extraordinary and totally unpredicted, indicating that new scientific encounters can lie hidden even in well-traversed areas of research.

A Star inside another Star

HV 2112 should certainly be retitled “The Cannibal Star.”  This intergalactic creature is in fact a huge star with a separate neutron star hidden in its core.  Researchers think that it was initially a binary star system, comprising of a red giant and a neutron star, until the latter was swallowed by its larger mate.  The final outcome of this cosmic cannibalism is a Thorne-Zytkow Object, an outrage so strange, it literally redefined our ideas of what can constitute a star.

Remember, HV2112 is a two-piece amalgamation: a neutron star inside a red giant.  These two things are already extreme self-sufficiently of one another.  Recall how a teaspoon of white dwarf matter weighs upwards of 15 tons?  Well, a teaspoon of neutron star matter can weigh up to 4 billion tons.  Yes, that’s 4 billion tons of matter crushed into a space no larger than a sugar cube.  And a red giant?  A red giant star can have a diameter of hundreds of millions of miles.  If a red giant were located in the middle of our solar system, its surface could effortlessly spread beyond the orbit of Mars.  Uniting these two stars produces something unlike anything formerly known to science.

But this star isn't just rare for being a freakish two-star hybrid.  HV 2112 is special because it acts differently than a normal star.  Its exotic makeup causes it to produce elements in a diverse way, creating higher amounts of specific heavy elements; This has the possibility to change our understanding of how heavy elements can be made in nature — up until HV 2112’s finding as the first possible Thorne-Zytkow object, researchers thought that heavy elements were likely made solely in the cores of massive-but-otherwise-traditional stars and in early supernovae.  By merely existing at all, HV 2112 has compelled science to reconsider some of its most basic suppositions about our cosmos.

Original Article: Q2Q
Article Written By: Johnathan Fuentes


Strange Stars

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