Getting in a spin: Record-breaking white dwarf star completes a full rotation once every 25 SECONDS – four seconds faster than the previous record-holder

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  • The star, J0240+1952, is the fastest rotating white dwarf
  • It is similar in size to Earth, but is believed to be at least 200,000 more massive.
  • The star is pulling gaseous plasma from a nearby companion star and propelling it into space at a speed of about 1,864 miles/s (3,000 km/s).

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A white dwarf star has broken a record when scientists discovered that it completes a full rotation once every 25 seconds.

The star, named LAMOST J024048.51+195226.9 (or J0240+1952 for short), was analyzed by researchers at the University of Warwick, who say it is the fastest spinning confirmed white dwarf.

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The previous record holder was a white dwarf that completed one rotation in just 29 seconds, making J0240+1952 20 percent faster.

Dr Ingrid Pellisoli, who led the study, said: ‘J0240+1952 would have completed so many rounds in the short amount of time it took for people to read about it, it’s really unbelievable.’

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The star, LAMOST J024048.51+195226.9 (or J0240+1952 for short), was analyzed by researchers at the University of Warwick, who say it is the fastest spinning confirmed white dwarf

What is a White Dwarf?

A white dwarf is the remnant of a star that has run out of nuclear fuel.

Stars 10 times the mass of the Sun suffer a violent supernova at the end of their lives, but a more gentle end awaits Sun-like stars.

When stars like the Sun come to the end of their lives, they exhaust their fuel, expand as red giants, and later expel their outer layers into space.

The hot and very dense core of the former star – a white dwarf – remains.

White dwarfs have almost the mass of the Sun but are about the radius of Earth.

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A white dwarf is a star that has burned up all its fuel, and is starting to shed its outer layers.

This particular white dwarf is about the same size as Earth, but is thought to be at least 200,000 more massive.

In the study, the team studied J0240+1952 using the highly sensitive Hypercam instrument on the 10-metre-wide Gran Telescopio Canaria in La Palma – the world’s largest functioning optical telescope.

Their analysis indicates that the white dwarf star is pulling gaseous plasma from a nearby companion star and propelling it into space at a speed of about 1,864 miles/s (3,000 km/s).

This gives the star an extremely quick rotation of only 25 seconds. For comparison, the Earth completes one revolution in 24 hours!

‘The rotation is so fast that the average mass of the white dwarf must be above average in order to stick together and not explode,’ Pelisoli explained.

‘It is pulling material from its companion star due to its gravitational influence, but as it gets closer to the white dwarf the magnetic field begins to dominate.

‘This type of gas is highly conductive and gains enormous momentum through this process, which moves it away from the star and into space.’

J0240+1952 is one of only two stars with this magnetic propeller system discovered in more than 70 years, according to the team.

Material was first observed exiting the star in 2020, although astronomers were unable to confirm the presence of an intense spin – a key indicator of a magnetic propeller – because the pulsations were too fast and slow for other telescopes to spot. Were.

Study co-author Professor Tom Marsh said: ‘This is only the second time we have found one of these magnetic propeller systems, so we now know that this is not a unique phenomenon.

‘This establishes that the magnetic propeller mechanism is a common property that operates in these binaries, if the conditions are right.

‘The second discovery is almost as important as the first one you develop a model for and with the second you can test it to see if that model works.

‘This latest discovery showed that the model worked really well, it predicted that the star would have to spin faster, and in fact it does.’

What will happen to Earth when the Sun dies?

Five billion years from now, the Sun is said to have grown into a red giant star a hundred times larger than its present size.

Eventually, it will eject gas and dust to form an ‘envelope’, equal to half its mass.

The core will become a small white dwarf star. It will continue to shine for thousands of years, forming a ring-shaped planetary nebula.

Five billion years from now, the Sun is said to have grown into a red giant star a hundred times larger than its present size.

Five billion years from now, the Sun is said to have grown into a red giant star a hundred times larger than its present size.

While this metamorphosis would change the Solar System, scientists are unsure what will happen to the third rock from the Sun.

We already know that our Sun will be bigger and brighter, making it probably destroy any form of life on our planet.

But whether Earth’s rocky core will survive is uncertain.

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