Scientists Have Discovered a One-of-a-Kind Teardrop-Shaped Star
It's tidally locked with a smaller star, which causes the teardrop shape.
In a galaxy far, far away, astronomers have discovered a totally unique star that's shaped like a teardrop. They're calling the star—named HD74423—the first of its kind in the Milky Way galaxy. It has roughly 1.7 times the mass of the sun and is located 1,500 light-years away from Earth. According to Mental Floss, the HD74423 is locked in with a smaller star, which means that one side of the star is being pulled by its partner's gravitational pull, which causes the teardrop shape.
"What first caught my attention was the fact it was a chemically peculiar star," co-author Dr. Simon Murphy, from the Sydney Institute for Astronomy in Australia, in a statement. "Stars like this are usually fairly rich with metals—but this is metal-poor, making it a rare type of hot star."
Scientists say that the majority of stars have a rhythmic pulse that can vary in duration, strength, and cause. While the pulsations of stars can be viewed from every angle, HD74423 can only be viewed in one hemisphere. According to CBS News, this happens because the star is located in a binary star system with a red dwarf star (the smallest, coolest, and most common type of star in the Milky Way galaxy), which distorts the movements due to its gravitational pull.
The star was discovered by amateur astronomers who were studying data from NASA's planet-hunting TESS satellite, and they expect to find even more stars like HD74423. "We've known theoretically that stars like this should exist since the 1980s," study co-author Don Kurtz of Britain's University of Central Lancashire said in a press release. "I've been looking for a star like this for nearly 40 years and now we have finally found one."