Rare Peacock Stars Could Potentially Detonate Deadly Gamma Rays In The Milky Way [Video]

KEY POINTS

  • Gamma-ray bursts are one of the most energetic occurrences in the universe
  • Apep’s two stars are 10 to 15 times more massive and 100,000 times brighter than the Sun
  • The two stars also orbit each other about every 125 years

Apep, one of the Wolf-Rayets binary star systems dubbed as the “exotic peacocks of the stellar world” discovered in 2018, was found to have the capacity to detonate long gamma ray bursts that are potentially deadly. If it detonates, the explosion could be something never seen in the Milky Way before, according to scientists.

“As well as exhibiting all the usual extreme behavior of Wolf-Rayets, Apep’s main star looks to be rapidly rotating. This means it could have all the ingredients to detonate a long gamma-ray burst when it goes supernova,” Peter Tuthill, study lead and professor from the University of Sydney, said in a press release. 

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