Mysterious star Mothra points to a cluster of dark matter in the sky

Astrophysicist José Diego and his collaborators at Spain’s National Research Council have made a groundbreaking discovery: they have discovered a star so large, bright and unusual that it may point us to a cluster of dark matter in the sky. The star, named Mothra, belongs to a rare class of “kaiju” stars known for their enormous apparent brightness despite their great distance from Earth. The finding, detailed in a preprint published on arXiv, sheds light on the existence of dark matter and its potential implications for our understanding of the universe.

Mothra is not alone in its uniqueness. Diego and his colleagues discovered another star, aptly named Godzilla. Godzilla is even brighter than Mothra and currently holds the title of the brightest known star in the sky. Although the two stars differ in various ways, they share intriguing similarities that suggest massive dark matter structures between them and us.

The identification of Mothra and Godzilla as kaiju stars could serve as a crucial probe for studying dark matter and its properties. Dark matter, an elusive substance that neither emits nor interacts with light, has long puzzled scientists. By observing the effects of dark matter on these stars, researchers hope to gain valuable insights into its nature and composition.

Mothra’s Journey

Mothra, also known as EMO J041608.8-240358, was discovered through observations by the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) in a distant galaxy. Normally, even the powerful JWST has trouble distinguishing individual stars at such vast distances. However, Mothra’s visibility has been improved by gravitational lensing caused by the curvature of space-time around massive objects such as galaxies and galaxy clusters. This lensing effect allows distant objects to be observed with greater clarity than would be possible under normal conditions.

The role of galaxy clusters

Both Mothra and Godzilla are in regions of space distorted by galaxy clusters between us and the stars. This distortion magnifies the stars, making them appear brighter. The researchers analyzed archival data from the Hubble Space Telescope and identified two observations of Mothra made six months apart in 2014. By combining this data with the JWST observations, Diego and his team were able to determine the star’s properties.

Secrets of Mothra

According to the calculations, Mothra is likely a binary star system consisting of two supergiants, a red star and a blue star. The red star has a temperature of about 5,000 Kelvin and a luminosity equivalent to 50,000 suns. The blue star, on the other hand, is much hotter at 14,000 Kelvin and has a luminosity of about 125,000 Suns. However, what really struck the researchers was the level of magnification observed in Mothra.

Solving the mystery

While gravitational lensing caused by a cluster of galaxies partially explains the magnification, it does not explain the full extent of Motra’s observed magnification. Experts have discovered that there must be another object closer to the star that provides additional magnification. Further analysis revealed that this object is the size of a dwarf galaxy or star cluster with a mass between 10,000 and 2.5 million times the mass of the Sun. Remarkably, this object remains invisible and is not detected in either the JWST or Hubble observations.

Implications for dark matter research

The presence of this hidden object suggests that there is a dark matter blob between us and Mothra. By studying the effect of dark matter on the magnification of a star, scientists hope to better understand the distribution and properties of this mysterious substance. This discovery opens up new avenues for research and brings us another step closer to unraveling the mysteries of dark matter.

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