Stars do not disappear at the end of their lives, but most often they turn into a supernova in the midst of a huge explosion, which involves not only a huge phenomenon of light, but also characteristic gas clouds remain in the place of the star. . This may not have happened to the notable places that existed 70 years ago, but they have since left space in an unknown location. Most of them weren’t actually stars, they could just be fleeting optical phenomena.
Beatriz Villarroel of the Scandinavian Institute of Theoretical Physics in Sweden is looking for such stars in the VASCO programme. The name of the program covers objects that disappear and appear based on a century of data (disappearing and reappearing sources within a century of observations).
I care about every celestial body that disappears, but ideally we find a star that has been reliably in place since we have observations, then it disappears overnight, and if you point at it the world’s largest telescopes, you won’t see anything in its place either.
Villarroel explains the purpose of the program.
The Swedish researcher and his team have been working on the oldest astronomical data since 2017, and their activities are accompanied by a keen interest from researchers in active galactic nuclei, stellar physics or extraterrestrial life.
Picture error or other phenomenon
The USNO, or the US Naval Observatory, is one of the oldest active scientific agencies – its main task is to provide the astronomical data necessary for timing and navigation, which is equipped with the most modern instruments ever. Swedish researchers have compared a series of observatory images taken in the 1950s, covering the entire sky, with images from Palomar and Haweke Haleakala.
Villarroel fellows at Uppsala University with the help of computer scientists are public websitet has also been launched where anyone can participate in the comparison, but in parallel they are working on an AI based solution.
The researchers examine every property of each missing light source, from its shape to its brightness, to rule out a defect in the old photographic plate.
There’s no guarantee that this won’t be a disk image malfunction, but some tests won’t rule out the most obvious things. Then we take a look at the Sloan Digital Sky Survey or the Dark Energy Camera Legacy Survey to see if there’s anything left after the orb.
The team will use all available resources, as well as the USNO archives, as well as data from the European Space Agency’s Gaia mission to map the Milky Way.
Strangers and Fallen
The research has found 800 missing stars so far, and while none of them correspond to the disappearance that Villarroel aspires to, there are interesting cases.
We found short-lived dimmer lights that only appear in one photo and then never recur. Most of our songs are like this. We examined it and ruled out an M dwarf star reversal or supernova. One possibility is that these are visual after-effects of a gamma flash or radio burst.
The most obvious explanation is that what they see are obvious optical phenomena, such as the flash of the M-type dwarf stars mentioned above, which increase the brightness of the dim-light star by a hundredfold. At the same time, it is highly unlikely that in the 50s of the last century, hundreds of such flashes could be seen at once and not later.
It is unlikely, but also possible, that some of these could be called a falling supernova, a star whose interior collapses into a black hole and devours the star from the inside, eventually absorbing all treacherous traces from the star’s surroundings. However, such cases are very rare, occurring every three centuries, so for research spanning less than a hundred years, it is also fortunate to see only one.
Another explanation for the disappearing stars may be the activity of an advanced space civilization that could, in theory, build a so-called Dyson sphere to get rid of a star in order to use its full energy product.
Aside from a fallen supernova, we don’t know of any process that only removes the star. Disappearing stars are interesting because we haven’t noticed one yet. The basic principle is to search for something that we think is impossible
(Cover Photo: Nicholas Economou/NoorPhoto/Getty Images)
“Social media evangelist. Baconaholic. Devoted reader. Twitter scholar. Avid coffee trailblazer.”