India’s first dedicated space observatory ASTROSAT has captured the rare phenomenon of a 6 billion year old Vampire star preying on a bigger celestial body. The Findings were published in the journal Astrophysical Journal Letters in the fourth week of January 2017.
The findings were made by a team of scientists from IIA, Inter-University Centre of Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA), Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA).
The observation of the entire Vampire star phenomenon was made through the telescope. The data from six filters of UVIT telescope were used to estimate the precise temperature of the companion star. This was possible only due to the excellent capability of the UVIT telescope.
The information captured will now provide valuable insights to help scientists in studying the formation of blue straggler stars.
About Vampire star phenomenon
The vampire star phenomenon is usually observed when a smaller star sucks mass and energy out of the bigger companion star causing its eventual death.
It is also called a blue straggler as small star becomes bigger, hotter and bluer, giving it the appearance of being young, while the ageing companion burns out and collapses to a stellar remnant.
• Launched in September 2016, ASTROSAT is India’s first dedicated multi-wavelength space observatory.
• It is one of the major scientific missions of ISRO after the highly acclaimed Chandrayaan-I and Mangalyaan.
• It is placed at low earth equatorial orbit at altitude of 650 km and has ability to observe celestial bodies like cosmic X-Ray sources and distant stars.
• It can also observe the universe through ultraviolet, optical, low and high energy X-ray components of the electromagnetic spectrum.
• It has mission life of around 5 years.