Superposed image of a partial radio loop on Algol's inner binary. The optical-radio registration is within 0.3 mas.  Credit:  University of Iowa

Giant Magnetic Loop Stretches Between Two Stars

Article Updated: 24 Dec , 2015

by

[/caption]
Using a collection of radio telescopes, astronomers have found a giant magnetic loop stretched outward from one of the stars making up the famous binary star system Algol, located in the constellation Perseus. “This is the first time we’ve seen a feature like this in the magnetic field of any star other than the Sun,” said William Peterson, of the University of Iowa.

The double star system, 93 light-years from Earth, includes a star about 3 times more massive than the Sun and a less-massive companion, orbiting it at a distance of 5.8 million miles, only about six percent of the distance between Earth and the Sun. The newly-discovered magnetic loop emerges from the poles of the less-massive star and stretches outward in the direction of the primary star. As the secondary star orbits its companion, one side — the side with the magnetic loop — constantly faces the more-massive star, just as the same side of our Moon always faces the Earth.

The scientists detected the magnetic loop by making extremely detailed images of the system using an intercontinental set of radio telescopes, including the National Science Foundation’s Very Long Baseline Array, Very Large Array, and Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope, along with the Effelsberg radio telescope in Germany. These radio telescopes were used as a single observing system that offered both great detail, or resolving power, and high sensitivity to detect very faint radio waves. When working together, these telescopes are known as the High Sensitivity Array.

Algol is visible to the naked eye and well-known to amateur astronomers. As seen from Earth, the two stars regularly pass in front of each other, causing a notable change in brightness. The pair completes a cycle of such eclipses in less than three days, making it a popular object for amateur observers. The variability in brightness was discovered by an Italian astronomer in 1667, and the eclipsing-binary explanation was confirmed in 1889.

The newly-discovered magnetic loop helps explain phenomena seen in earlier observations of the Algol system at X-ray and radio wavelengths, the scientists said. In addition, they now believe there may be similar magnetic features in other double-star systems.

Source: EurekAlert

, ,



Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Aqua4U
Member
January 13, 2010 12:59 PM

Synchronicity aside.. check out my request to see magnetic anomaly data for the Earth and Sol prior to the Haitian quake..

Olaf
Member
Olaf
January 13, 2010 1:10 PM

@Aqua, yeah right, and I just saw an UFO pass also prior to the quake. Sorry no proof of EU I am afraid.

simon
Member
simon
January 13, 2010 1:41 PM

‘just as the same side of our always faces the Earth.’ – forgot to say moon?

Astrofiend
Member
Astrofiend
January 13, 2010 2:27 PM

You’d have to think that for closely orbiting binaries, features like this would have been somewhat expected. Great to see confirmation in such detail though…

PS – I’m back from my wedding and month long honeymoon in Mexico! Anyone miss me? razz

solrey
Member
January 13, 2010 3:17 PM

Aqua, you might be interested in this paper.

Investigation of ULF magnetic pulsations, air conductivity changes, and infra red signatures associated with the 30 October Alum Rock M5.4 earthquake

http://www.nat-hazards-earth-syst-sci.net/9/585/2009/nhess-9-585-2009.html

The full paper in a 6mb pdf is available at the bottom of the page.

William928
Member
William928
January 13, 2010 4:16 PM

@Astrofiend: Welcome back and congratulations. I was actually wondering where you had gone. Where in Mexico were you? Why not Fiji, since I believe you live in Australia. Probably because you’ve been before, eh? I need to take a trip to Australia and Fiji.

lalit
Member
lalit
January 13, 2010 10:58 PM

We thought earlier that binary stars interact with gravitation only but this binary system is a clear cut is a clear cut indication of both gravitational and magnetic interaction.

LALIT HP INDIA

Aodhhan
Member
Aodhhan
January 14, 2010 3:57 AM

I suppose it isn’t out of the question, some sort of magnetic anomoly could cause an earthquake. Stranger things have been proven. Although, why did it only affect one small fault?

Dark Gnat
Member
Dark Gnat
January 14, 2010 6:37 AM

I’d bet that there might even be plasma structures resulting from flares, etc. These structures would be regions where particles are suspended in the fields, something like Van Allen belts.

Lots to learn here!

Anaconda
Member
Anaconda
January 14, 2010 2:15 PM

Study magnetic fields and electric fields in relation to plasma and you’ll have a better idea of what is actually going on:

Advances in numerical Modeling of Astrophysical and Space Plasmas

Part II. Astrophysical Force Laws on the Large Scale

Anthony L. Peratt
United States Department of Energy, Washington, DC, U.S.A.; Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico, U.S.A.

http://plasmascience.net/tpu/downloads/AdvancesII.pdf

Gravity alone doesn’t cut it anymore.

Astrofiend
Member
Astrofiend
January 14, 2010 2:47 PM
@William928 Cheers! Good to be back on the site. At the places we were staying in most of Mexico, using the internet was an exercise in frustration… Anyway, I traveled around a decent bit of Mexico considering the length of the trip. We flew into Mexico City, then made our way to Morelia, then Guadalajara, then flew down to Puerto Escondido, then drove to Oaxaca, then flew to Merida over on the Yucatan, then drove to Valladolid, then Tulum, then Isla Mujeres. Then home again! Great trip! I haven’t actually been to Fiji yet, but I have a trip lined up to go there later this year. Why Mexico for the honeymoon? My wife and I have always… Read more »
Astrofiend
Member
Astrofiend
January 14, 2010 2:50 PM

Anaconda Says:
January 14th, 2010 at 2:15 pm

“Gravity alone doesn’t cut it anymore.”

Nah – in my experience of physics, we generally need the Strong Force, Electromagnetism, the Weak Force AND Gravity to explain what we see around us.

But then again, that’s pretty basic stuff, isn’t it?

ND
Member
ND
January 14, 2010 2:56 PM

Anaconda: “Study magnetic fields and electric fields in relation to plasma and you’ll have a better idea of what is actually going on:”

Good advice for you since you don’t have any idea of the topics you discuss. I mean seriously, nothing you say is taken seriously since you just don’t know much about plasma physics itself.

Ivan3man_At_Large
Member
Ivan3man_At_Large
January 14, 2010 3:08 PM

@ ND,

Indeed, just like those dogs who bark at fireworks going off!

William928
Member
William928
January 14, 2010 4:06 PM

I knew we couldn’t usher in much of 2010 without the snake making an appearance and continuing his inane EU ramblings.

@Astrofiend: Good to hear you had a nice trip in Mexico. The country does have much to offer. I’m planning on Australia in 2011, if all goes according to plan…

The Eclectic Exterminator of Stupid Electricians
Member
The Eclectic Exterminator of Stupid Electricians
January 14, 2010 4:29 PM

Anaconda Said;
January 14th, 2010 at 2:15 pm
“Gravity alone doesn’t cut it anymore.”

You mean. “Anaconda alone doesn’t cut it anymore”

Wonder how Anaconda ever keeps his feet one the ground?

DIPSTICK

The Eclectic Exterminator of Stupid Electricians
Member
The Eclectic Exterminator of Stupid Electricians
January 14, 2010 4:30 PM

Anthony L. Peratt.

Jackass #1.

The Eclectic Exterminator of Stupid Electricians
Member
The Eclectic Exterminator of Stupid Electricians
January 14, 2010 4:47 PM
Anaconda’s desperate attempts in trying to engage individuals here is an illusion, and is certainly not genuine. From his history in expressing irrelevant alternative comments and stating his “personal theories” here, it is clear all he wants to do is spread hearsay instead of discussing the issues presented in the news story at hand.?Towards any here, the individual known Anaconda has been pointed out by the writers here as a TROLL, and have suggested we just ignore him – and perhaps he’ll have the sense to go away for good.?There is no need to “prove him wrong” or even correct in his views, In the end this treatment he has brought on himself. IMO, the only way he… Read more »
Anaconda
Member
Anaconda
January 14, 2010 5:09 PM

Astrofiend wrote: “…in my experience of physics, we generally need the Strong Force, Electromagnetism, the Weak Force AND Gravity to explain what we see around us.

But then again, that’s pretty basic stuff, isn’t it?”

Agreed.

Now, if the other commenters would take your comment to heart.

The Eclectic Exterminator of Stupid Electricians
Member
The Eclectic Exterminator of Stupid Electricians
January 14, 2010 7:13 PM
Anaconda’s desperate attempts in trying to engage individuals is to perpetuate an illusion, whose response is certainly not genuine. From his long history here he just continues to express many irrelevant alternative comments often stating his own “personal theories.” It is very clear all he wants to do is spread hearsay instead of discussing the issues presented in the news story at hand. ?Towards any newer readers here who don’t know, this individual known “Anaconda” has been pointed out by the contributors here as a TROLL, It is commonly suggested we just ignore him – and perhaps he’ll have the sense to go away for good.? There is absolutely no need to “prove him wrong” or even correct… Read more »
wpDiscuz