Astronomers have found an anonymous pair of stars that sets another record for both the longest length of time stellar eclipse (3.5 years) and longest period between eclipses (69 years) in a binary system or the double framework.
The newfound framework known as TYC 2505-672-1 sets another record for both the longest length of time eclipse overshadowing and the longest period between eclipses in a double framework. “It’s the longest span eclipse overshadowing and the longest circle for an obscuring double ever found… by a wide margin,” said doctoral understudy Joey Rodriguez from Tennessee-based Vanderbilt University.
The past record holder was Epsilon Aurigae, a giant star that is eclipsed by its companion every 27 years for periods ranging from 640 to 730 days “Epsilon Aurigae is much closer — about 2,200 light years or more from the Earth — and brighter, which has allowed astronomers to study it extensively,” said Rodriguez.
TYC-2505-672-1 is so distant that the amount of data the astronomers could extract from the images was limited. However, they were able to estimate the surface temperature of the companion star and found that it is about 3,600° F (2,000° C) hotter than the surface of the Sun. Combined with the observation that it appears to be less than half the diameter of the Sun has led them to propose that it is a red giant that has had its outer layers stripped away and that this stripped material may account for the obscuring disk. However, they don’t know that for certain
With a specific end goal to deliver the 69-year interim between obscurations, the cosmologists figure that they should be circling at a greatly vast separation – around 20 galactic units – which is roughly the separation between the Sun and Uranus. “At this moment, even our most effective telescopes can’t freely resolve the two items,” said Rodriguez.
A team of astronomers from Vanderbilt and Harvard University with other colleagues discovered the system’s extraordinary properties.