Found a star that spins space and time around itself

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One of the principles of Einstein's general theory of relativity is that every rotating body in the universe drags the nearby tissue of space-time itself. To discover such a phenomenon near Earth, scientists need expensive devices in the form of gravity probes, reports Fortunately, there are many natural laboratories in the universe where physicists can observe the fulfillment of Einstein's predictions down to the smallest detail without constructing structures worth millions. The neighborhood of the recently discovered white dwarf was one of these places, as his example demonstrates the hypothesis of the great Austrian scientist at the beginning of the 20th century.

Image of a white dwarf attracting a neighboring star's affair to its surroundings

Stars can rotate the time around them.

A pair of compact stars recently discovered by researchers can be evidence of a unique phenomenon that Albert Einstein predicted in the early 20th century. Objects spin around at a frantic speed and move in a very curved space-time, which is compatible with modern relativity. One of his postulates states that the faster the object rotates and the more massive it is, the greater the pressure on the surrounding matter. This phenomenon is still the most relevant for white dwarfs, which despite their tiny dimensions on a universal scale, have an enormous density. Similar objects, which are in fact the remains of ancient stars, are able to make a complete revolution around their axis in a minute or two, and not in 24 hours, as our Earth does.

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Pulsars – the fastest rotating objects in the universe

In order for astronomers to be able to observe the time of rotation of the white dwarfs, they often have to observe them through orbital stars, so-called pulsars. In comparison to white dwarfs, pulsars do not consist of atoms, but of special particles – neutrons, which make these unusual objects turn even faster than white dwarfs – and that more than 150 times per minute. Knowing the presence of a similar property in pulsars can help us display the trajectory of a recognized object when it is a white dwarf. A pair of two stars, officially called PSR J1141-6545, is an ideal gravitational laboratory with less than 5 hours of mutual circulation.

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Although the PSR J1141-6545 is hundreds of billions of kilometers away, we already know that the pair's pulsar rotates about 2.5 times per second. The white dwarf in this unusual system drags space and time behind it and causes the pulsar to orbit as it moves. Well, maybe it would be interesting to see when the processes take place near objects next to which the space can slow and stretch itself. By the way, you can read more about what happens in such cases here.