Astronomers uncover a mysterious ‘parasitic’ object that behaves almost 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, but scientists also believe that it could be something entirely new.


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 binary black widow is a star that’s slowly spinning and feeding on its companion star.

Black widow is a reference to the spiders who eat their mates after having sex.

New research reveals that either astronomers have discovered the most connected black widow system or a new pulsing celestial object.

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To survive, the rapidly spinning star in a binary black widow system must feed on the star nearest 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 near San Diego.

After observing 20 million stars, and determining if any light was fluctuating significantly, they found it.

This was a novel technique that located known black widows as well as this mysterious 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.”

It is remarkable how close the cannibalistic star to its companion is and how the arrangement also shows a third star.

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 informed by Burdge: “It’s entirely possible that this object could also have been something we’ve never before seen and even more 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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