Astronomers have discovered a binary system of a pair of red dwarfs that rotate around each other in a strangely elongated orbit. Previously, scientists did not observe such an anomaly, according to a study by researchers from the University of Leicester, published on arXiv.org.
Red dwarfs are small and relatively cold stars, the mass of which is about three times less than that of stars. This is the most common type of star in the Universe – exoplanets often revolve around red dwarfs, which in their characteristics resemble the Earth.
Sometimes red dwarfs form binary systems that consist of stars orbiting a short distance around each other. Of greatest interest to scientists are darkened binary systems in which one red dwarf periodically covers another at an angle equal to the angle of observation of the system.
In a new study, astronomers were able to detect such a system using the Next Generation Transit Survey telescope. It is called NGTS J214358.5-380102 and is located 390 light-years from Earth.
Observations showed that two almost identical red dwarfs in it rotate in a strange elongated orbit. Typically, in such systems, both objects have an almost circular orbit, and scientists have not yet had to observe such deviations by NGTS J214358.5-380102.
Astronomers do not yet know what the anomaly is connected with – probably, a third object is present in the system. Further observations will answer this question.