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Helium Star UPSC NOTE

 Why in news

  • Astronomers have finally found a unique class of stars they had been looking for for a decade.

  • While these stars — hot and relatively small orbs covered in helium — were predicted to be fairly common, astronomers hadn’t been able to find them.

  • The discovery provides proof that the underlying theories are legitimate

  • Since stars are cosmic engines, it also opens new doors to understanding their diverse influences on the universe, from the creation of heavy elements to the release of gravitational waves.

  • Led by assistant professor Maria Drout of the University of Toronto, the research team found these stars after spending seven years labouring with a simple working hypothesis, extensively cataloguing thousands of stars, and testing different assumptions.

What is helium star?

  • A rare and enigmatic type of star that is almost entirely composed of helium.

  • Lacking significant amounts of hydrogen in its spectrum

  • It's believed to be formed from the merger of two white dwarfs, specifically helium-core and carbon-oxygen core white dwarfs.


  • Extremely rare

  • Similar in temperature and luminosity to traditional helium stars

  • Believed to have a short lifespan and potentially end in a Type Ia supernova

What is Neutron star?

  • A neutron star is the incredibly dense, collapsed core of a massive star that has exploded in a supernova. 

  • They are some of the most extreme objects in the universe, packing the mass of about 1.4 times our Sun into a sphere roughly the size of a city, about 20 kilometers (12 miles) in diameter

  • This extreme density is due to the immense gravitational forces that crush atoms together, converting protons and electrons into neutrons.

  • Neutron stars are fascinating objects that continue to challenge our understanding of the universe. 

  • They are important laboratories for studying the behavior of matter under extreme conditions of density and pressure, and they may hold clues to the nature of dark matter and the fate of our own Sun.

What is kilonova explosion? 

  • Kilonova explosion is a powerful and transient astronomical event that occurs when two neutron stars or a neutron star and a black hole merge

  • These mergers are thought to produce gamma-ray bursts and emit bright electromagnetic radiation, called "kilonovae," due to the radioactive decay of heavy r-process nuclei that are produced and ejected fairly isotropically during the merger process.

  • While kilonova explosions are incredibly powerful, they are also very far away from us

  • The nearest potential kilonova progenitor system we know of is about 10,000 light-years away, so the chances of one happening close enough to Earth to have a significant impact are extremely small.



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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Helium Star UPSC NOTE
Helium Star UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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