Total Solar Eclipses as you all know don’t last more than a few minutes. However, eclipses of stars in the galaxy, named stellar eclipses to last a little longer.
A team of astronomers have discovered a binary star system in which one red giant star orbits another and eclipses it for around 3.5 years.
This makes it the longest-lasting eclipse that was ever observed.
Also known as TYC 2505-672-1, this system also has the longest period between eclipses. There is a 69-year difference between 2 eclipses.
The system was located in Leo Minor constellation, and it eclipsed during World War 2 and again from 2011 to 2014, reported the scientist. The next eclipse wouldn’t be seen until April 2080.
Understanding solar eclipses is easy, in which light from the sun is blocked as the moon is seen passing over Earth and it. Same for lunar eclipses, wherein the moon is dim as it passes through the shadow of the Earth. However, the question is how one star can blot out other if both emit light.
As per a team that was led by astronomers at Harvard and Vanderbilt, it is said that since 1 star is encased in a cloud of gas and dust, light is blocked.
In a written statement, Joseph Rodriguez, an astronomy student at Vanderbilt University stated that the only way of getting long eclipse times is with the extended disk of materials that are opaque. No other thing was big enough for blocking the star for months.
The stars are seen orbiting each other at a distance of Astronomical Units as per astronomers. Roughly, the average distance between Earth and Sun is 150 million kilometers. At the same time, the distance between the Sun and the Uranus is 20 AU.
For characterizing the star system, the team used observations from sources including American Association of Variable Star Observers and Kilodegree Extremely Little Telescope.