Scientists have found a unique and unseen flare of radio emission from a binary star in our galaxy. The MeerKAT radio telescope in Northern South Africa observed a rapidly brightened object over three weeks. This is the first new transient source that MeerKAT discovered. Transient is the astronomical event that appears or disappears between particular intervals. Transients are the events that become brighter or fainter over a specified period. These events are essential to understand the life cycle of stars. According to the data that came from the telescope, the flare came from the star from a binary system.
In a binary system, two objects orbit each approximately every 22 years. The exact cause behind this first flare that came from this binary system is still unresolved. However, it could be related to the outermost hot part of the star. The source of this activity is located in the southern constellation of Ara. The source was coincident with a giant star about two times massive than the sun. The Southern African Large telescope calculated the orbital period of the star. The star is bright enough to be visible to the telescope, and its brightness varies every three weeks.
MeerKAT is a sensitive telescope to capture the emission in the broad areas of the skies. Professor Ben Stappers from Manchester University said, “The properties of this system don’t easily fit into our current knowledge of binary or flaring stars, and so many represent an entirely new source class.” Moreover, the MeerKAT telescope is sweeping the sky for sources that vary on timescales and improve the human understanding of the variable radio sky. Furthermore, this discovery tells that how powerful the MeerKAT would be to find out more transient events. MeerKAT has the potential to find out new astrophysical phenomena. This was the first study to involve two of South Africa’s astronomy facilities.