A group of international scientists discovered on the Milky Way an unprecedented star system in our galaxy, reports an article published Monday in the journal Nature Astronomy.
This is a large three-star Wolf-Rayet system. Baptized Apophis in honor of the ancient Egyptian god – who has the shape of a snake and continues to fight against Ra – is located around 8,000 light years from Earth. Two of their star bodies roamed each other and the clash of their forces caused the appearance of a dust trail that resembled an embryo or tadpole, an image that gave its name to the discovery. The researchers succeeded in measuring the star wind speed and determined that it was 12 million kilometers per hour, which represented 1% of the speed of light, reports the Gizmodo portal.
According to the study's lead author, Joseph Callingham, from the Netherlands Radio Astronomy Institute (ASTRON), it is "the first system of this type found in our own galaxy".
This study shows that at least one of the stars that are part of Apophis rotates very fast and can produce a long-lasting gamma ray (GRB) explosion, one of the most powerful in the universe. The explosion can last only a few seconds, but at the same time will emit as much energy as the Sun during its existence.
Fortunately, the explosion will not reach Earth, otherwise it will destroy the ozone layer in the atmosphere. Peter Tuthill, from the University of Sydney, said that at this time it is unknown what would be the future of such a system and if an extraordinary gamma ray explosion could become less powerful than expected. "This system can reduce its speed sufficiently and explode like a normal supernova, instead of producing a gamma ray burst," he said.