Astronomers discover a mysterious “parasitic object” that behaves like a space cannibal

A strange parasitic object was spotted 3,700 light years away from Earth. It’s puzzled astronomers.

Scientists have many theories about what it could mean, but they also believe it could be something completely new and unknown.


This graphic depicts a binary system with black widows. It shows how a star that is dead can have a close companion and emit large amounts of energy.Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

One theory holds that the object may be a black widow binary.

A black widow binary refers to a dead star which is fast spinning and feeding on its companion star.

The black widow is named after the spiders that eat their mates after they have sex.

A new studyIt is clear that either the most connected black widow system or a completely new pulsing celestial object has been discovered by astronomers.

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In order to survive in its current condition, the rapidly spinning dead star of a black widow binary system must feed off the star directly next to it.

This process is very energetic and has been observed in the Milky Way around a dozen of times.

For the observation of the new black widow binary candidate, scientists used space tech at Palomar Observatory at California Institute of Technology near San Diego.

After looking at the brightness of 20,000,000 stars and observing if there was any fluctuating light, they discovered it.

This was a novel technique that located black widows as well as a new mystery object.

Scientists have given the object ZTF J1406+1222 their scientific name.

Kevin Burdge (MIT astrophysicist) was the lead author of this study. Inverse: “All known black widow pulsars have been found because they emit X-rays, gamma rays, or radio waves, but this is the first time we’ve used visible light, the kind our eyes can see, to find something like this.”

The object’s proximity to its companion is unusual. There also appears to be another star in the arrangement.

Astronomers are also confused as to why they haven’t spotted gamma rays or X-rays coming off it yet.

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Inverse was told by Burdge that it is possible for this object to be something new and exotic.

“The one thing I know for sure is we really have never seen anything quite like this object, and that there is probably a lot more to learn from it and other similar objects that I am finding right now, and that’s what has me so excited about these.”

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