Heartbeat stars – UPSC Prelims

Heartbeat stars:
  • These stars path resemble to an  electrocardiogram of the human heart, hence they are called heartbeat stars.
  • These star travels in a highly elliptical orbit around a common centre of mass.
  • The distance between the two stars varies drastically as they orbit each other.
  • When the stars are at their closest, there is a sudden increase in the brightness, with amplitude going up to several parts per thousand.
  • As they move apart, the light variation falls and becomes almost flat. This results in alternating peaks and troughs in their light curves.
  • The pulsation activity of the stars is due to oscillations in the component stars when they are the closest.
  • Why in News? A team of 33 scientists from Aryabhata research institute of observational sciences (ARIES) discovered HD73619. It was found that HD73619 is the first member of heartbeat systems in binary chemical peculiar stars that do not show any positional activity at the closest approach.

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