Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Red dwarf-red giant binary pair of stars found

Date:
February 19, 2010
Source:
University of Hertfordshire
Summary:
A binary pair of red stars -- one giant, one dwarf -- has been discovered by a collaboration of astrophysicists from the UK and China.

Eta Cancri: Researchers in the UK and China recently discovered a binary pair of red stars -- one giant, one dwarf.

A binary pair of red stars, one giant one dwarf, has been discovered by a collaboration of astrophysicists from the University of Hertfordshire and The Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The discovery, which is due to be published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society later this month reports that the researchers have identified an ultra-cool companion to the bright red giant star Eta Cancri, using the UK Infrared Telescope in Hawaii and the Sloan Digital Sky Survey in New Mexico.

Ultra-cool dwarfs are star-like objects, but with surface temperatures much cooler than normal stars -- less than 2000 degrees (compare this to the Sun's temperature of about 6000 degrees). Exotic dusty clouds condense out at such ultra-cool temperatures, leading to objects that are hybrid in nature -- with characteristics of both stars and giant planets like Jupiter.

Red giant stars are much bigger and more massive, and are evolving towards the end of their life (our Sun will become a red giant in about 5 billion years). But as they evolve towards their demise they can reveal information about their age and chemical composition.

Against the backdrop of unknown ultra-cool cloudy physics, the new binary is providing a beacon to test our understanding. Both members will have a shared history and origin, and the team's detailed studies of the giant star have been able to reveal the age and chemical composition of the ultra-cool companion Eta Cancri B.

The discovery was made by ZengHua Zhang, a researcher previously at the Yunnan Observatory of The Chinese Academy of Sciences and now studying for his PhD with Dr David Pinfield at the University of Hertfordshire Centre for Astrophysics Research.

"China sees it as crucial to pursue excellence in cutting edge astrophysics as part of its fast growing research enterprise" said ZengHua Zhang. "Collaboration with overseas experts is very important to us, and that is why I have come to do my PhD in the University of Hertfordshire."

In the infrared, the "UKIRT Infrared Deep Sky Survey" on the UK Infrared Telescope in Hawaii detected the warm glow of Eta Cancri B. And in the optical (where the human eye is sensitive) the "Sloan Digital Sky Survey" measured its characteristic red colour.

"The power of these large scale sky surveys is yielding many fascinating low temperature discoveries, previously beyond our reach," said Dr. Pinfield. "You have to search for needles in a haystack, but rare finds like Eta Cancri B provide a guiding light for our understanding of the complex atmospheres that enrobe the Sun's coolest neighbours as well as warm giant planets."

The team is making further studies of this crucial binary pair using some of the world's largest telescopes, to fully explore it's qualities as a defining benchmark system.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Hertfordshire. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Hertfordshire. "Red dwarf-red giant binary pair of stars found." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 February 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100216221147.htm>.
University of Hertfordshire. (2010, February 19). Red dwarf-red giant binary pair of stars found. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100216221147.htm
University of Hertfordshire. "Red dwarf-red giant binary pair of stars found." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100216221147.htm (accessed July 26, 2014).

Share This




More Space & Time News

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

This Week @ NASA, July 25, 2014

This Week @ NASA, July 25, 2014

NASA (July 25, 2014) Apollo 11 celebration, Next Giant Leap anticipation, ISS astronauts appear in the House and more... Video provided by NASA
Powered by NewsLook.com
Space to Ground: Coming and Going

Space to Ground: Coming and Going

NASA (July 25, 2014) One station cargo ship leaves, another arrives, aquatic research and commercial spinoffs. Questions or comments? Use #spacetoground to talk to us. Video provided by NASA
Powered by NewsLook.com
How A Solar Flare Could Have Wrecked Earth's Electronics

How A Solar Flare Could Have Wrecked Earth's Electronics

Newsy (July 25, 2014) Researchers say if Earth had been a week earlier in its orbit around the sun, it would have taken a direct hit from a 2012 coronal mass ejection. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: ISS Cargo Ship Launches in Kazakhstan

Raw: ISS Cargo Ship Launches in Kazakhstan

AP (July 23, 2014) The Progress 56 cargo ship launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan Wednesday. NASA says it will deliver cargo and crew supplies to the International Space Station. (July 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins