First symbiotic star detected by Gaia satellite

First symbiotic star detected by Gaia satellite
Comparison of the two spectra of Gaia18aen obtained on January 20 and March 22, 2018 together with the identification of the major emission lines observed. Credit: Merc et al., 2020.

An international team of astronomers reports that the transient Gaia18aen discovered by ESA’s Gaia spacecraft turns out to be a symbiotic star. This makes it the first symbiotic star identified by this astrometric satellite. The finding is detailed in a paper published September 30 on arXiv.org.


Astronomers assume that symbiotic stars, which are among the widest interacting binaries, showcase dramatic, episodic changes in the spectra of their light because one of the pair is a very hot, small star, while the other is a cool giant. In general, such systems are essential for researchers studying aspects of stellar evolution.

WRAY 15-136, also known as AT 2018id, was detected and classified as an emission line star in 1966. In January 2018,

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