Scientists create semi-analytical model to help explain ‘puzzling’ triple-star system

Washington, Jan. 7: Scientists have developed a semi-analytical model, which could help resolve the puzzling formation of this exotic triple-star system.

Astrophysicist Thomas Tauris from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy and the Argelander Institute for Astronomy in Bonn jointly with Ed van den Heuvel through theoretical calculations and stability analysis on the base of stellar evolution, demonstrated a plausible theoretical model which brings new insight to knowledge of stellar interactions in multiple star systems.

Their study can also help explain an increasing number of observed binary millisecond pulsars which seem to require a triple system origin.

The new triple millisecond pulsar J0337+1715 was discovered recently by a joint American-European collaboration led by Scott Ransom from National Radio Astronomy Observatory (USA).

The system is located in the constellation of Taurus at a distance of about 4000 light-years. It is in the galactic disk, and not inside a globular cluster.

One of the key results of the study conducted by Tauris and van den Heuvel is that the observed parameters reflect that both white dwarfs were indeed produced in the present system.

van den Heuvel said that an interesting result is that the system evolved through a common envelope stage where both white dwarf progenitor stars were dragged into the envelope of the massive star due to frictional forces, causing their orbits to shrink by a large factor, thereby enabling survival of its subsequent explosion (ANI)