Why Are Dying Stars in 47 Tucanae Cooling Off So Slowly?
The Hubble Space Telescope is going to be used to settle an argument. It’s a conflict between computer models and what astronomers are seeing in a group of stars in 47 Tucanae.
White dwarfs — the dying embers of stars who have burnt off all their fuel — are cooling off slower than expected in this southern globular cluster, according to previous observations with the telescope’s Wide Field Camera and Advanced Camera for Surveys.
Puzzled astronomers are now going to widen that search in 47 Tucanae (which initially focused on a few hundred objects) to 5,000 white dwarfs. They do have some theories as to what might be happening, though.
White dwarfs, stated lead astronomer Ryan Goldsbury from the University of British Columbia, have several factors that chip in to the cooling rate: