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About a hundred stars disappeared without a trace

About a hundred stars disappeared without a trace

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There are so many stars in the sky that they cannot even be noticed if some of them are missing. Researchers have counted and are faced with a puzzle.

FRANKFURT – Several stars seem to have disappeared from the sky. A search team identified about 100 missing candidates She was enrolled in a study from 2019. “None of the candidates have a result within 30 arcseconds in the general catalog of variable stars, meaning that none of them are already known variable objects,” the researchers wrote.

But what happened to the lost stars? It is possible for stars to fade for a while, as happened with the red giant star Betelgeuse some time ago. An explosion such as a supernova is also possible. But stars that simply disappear are very unusual. One hypothesis put forward by the research is the so-called “failed supernova”: perhaps the star did not explode, but instead collapsed into a black hole. However, this condition is said to occur very rarely, and should not explain the disappearance of 100 stars.

About 100 stars have disappeared, and researchers are at a loss

Another possible explanation is gravitational lensing. Massive objects in space can magnify objects behind them like a lens, a phenomenon that astronomy likes to use to observe distant celestial bodies. But it only works if the objects lie exactly on the line. Once this temporary alignment ends, the previously zoomed object returns to its old size and brightness. It is possible that such a process could explain the disappearance of the stars, but the question here is also: Could it be that all 100 missing stars disappeared in this way?

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Countless stars can be seen in the sky. (Avatar) © IMAGO/Gala Martínez López

The most far-fetched theory is Dyson's field theory. This is a hypothetical way alien civilizations could harness the energy of their star: by building a structure that surrounds the star and harnesses its energy. Its visible light will then not be visible to the outside world. However, infrared radiation can still be detected.

Researchers face a mystery: the stars are still missing

The researchers also took into account transient events, i.e. events that last only a short time, such as a supernova. But the study says: “At the moment, we do not know what these findings represent.” “We think it may be a combination of temporary phenomena.”

So far, research has found no explanation for the missing stars – but now there may be a possible solution: the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). She recently helped a research team solve the mystery of a star that first became very bright before the eyes of astronomers in 2009 and then disappeared. Even the most powerful telescopes can no longer find the star.

However, the James Webb Space Telescope, with its sharp infrared vision, has found an explanation for this phenomenon and helped researchers develop a new theory. The new telescope could also help find answers in the case of the 100 missing stars. (unpaid bill)