Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Pulsating white dwarf stars!

I really like the physics arXiv blog, which has quirky posts on interesting stuff recently posted to the arXiv. This post (New type of pulsating star discovered) in particular interests me, in this case from a digital curation rather than a general interest point of view. The post starts:
"New types of stars aren’t found very often but last year, Patrick Dufour and pals discovered several white dwarfs with carbon atmospheres. Before then white dwarfs were thought to come in two flavours: with atmospheres dominated by either hydrogen or helium. Astronomers suddenly had a new toy to play with.

"Dufour found nine examples of his carbon dwarfs in the data regurgitated by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and more are likely to be found as the skies continue to be searched."
What's more they worked out that some of these new stars should be pulsating. An update suggests they found one shortly afterwards. A nice example of science emerging from the data; no doubt there are many more in astronomy, with these huge sky surveys and virtual observatories!


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