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Astronomers just found one of our galaxy’s rarest stars

Published Jun 24th, 2023 4:10PM EDT

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Astronomers have just discovered one of the rarest stars in our galaxy. These types of stars are known as white dwarf pulsar stars, and they’re so rarely seen that only one other is known to exist in the entire Milky Way. Now, that original white pulsar, known as AR Scorpii, is joined by what astronomers have called J1912-4410.

The newly discovered white pulsar is located just 773 light-years away from Earth and was recently discovered by a group of astronomers and astrophysicists working with the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom. On top of giving us another glimpse at these rare stars, the discovery also helps highlight and confirm that the magnetic field of white dwarfs is generated by an internal dynamo.

That process is similar to how Earth’s liquid core generates the magnetic field that surrounds our planet. However, the field generated by the white dwarf pulsar is much stronger. Far more powerful, in fact.

“The magnetic fields in white dwarfs can be more than a million times stronger than the magnetic field of the Sun, and the dynamo model helps to explain why. The discovery of J1912-4410 provided a critical step forward in this field,” astrophysicist Ingrid Pelisoli, from the University of Warwick, explained in a statement. A study on the new discovery is also published in Nature Astronomy.

You can see what a white dwarf pulsar might look like in the video embedded above. That video contains an artist’s interpretation of the white pulsar AR Scorpii, which was discovered in 2016. No interpretations of J1912-4410 have been created just yet. Traditionally, pulsars are dead stars, which we more commonly call neutron stars.

However, in the case of these white pulsars, they are actually the remnants of dead stars known as white dwarf stars. The difference here is that neutron stars are typically what is left of massive stars with anywhere from eight to 30 times the mass of our Sun. White dwarf stars are typically the remnants of stars below or up to eight times the mass of our Sun. As such, they are somewhat smaller than your normal pulsars.

This new discovery confirms that there are more white dwarf pulsars out there, which scientists had already predicted after the discovery of AR Scorpii. Considering scientists have already discovered some of the most powerful pulsars ever, it’s intriguing to see them continuing to uncover more data about these intriguing stellar remnants.

Josh Hawkins has been writing for over a decade, covering science, gaming, and tech culture. He also is a top-rated product reviewer with experience in extensively researched product comparisons, headphones, and gaming devices.

Whenever he isn’t busy writing about tech or gadgets, he can usually be found enjoying a new world in a video game, or tinkering with something on his computer.