VVV-Witt-08 is a giant star located 25,000 light-years away and about 100 times larger than the Sun. That would be enough to make it attractive but what makes it unique is that it disappears behind something “darker, wider and elongated” and astronomers are still not sure what it is. As published in the monthly notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, this happens “every few decades”. It usually indicates one type of transit. When we transmit an object like a star or a planet and its light from the earth, it means something goes ahead.
If it happens regularly, then maybe something is circling it. This star is a strange kind of ecliptic binary and reduces its brightness by a factor of 30. Co-author Dr Sergey Koposov from the University of Edinburgh said in a statement, “It’s amazing that we’ve only observed the passage of a dark, large and elongated object between us and distant stars, and we can only guess what its source is.”
The team believes that this star is not alone, part of a new class of long-term eclipse binary systems. Several other star elements are seen to be confused by something like a large disk. In the case of VVV-WIT-08, the disk obscures both visible light and infrared. Lead author Dr. Lee Smith explained to Dr. Lee Lee Smith, lead author, “There is much more to be found, but now the challenge is to find out what the hidden comrades are and how they came up with the disc, the Cambridge Institute of Astronomy.” By doing so, we can learn something new about how such systems evolve.”
Two more stars similar to the VVV-WIT-8 are well known. Epsilon Origa is partially absorbed by a huge disk of dust every 27 years, fading by about half. The TYC 2505-672-1 is the grahaman binary with the longest orbit of 69 years, although may be longer than the VVV-Wit-8. If you are interested in the name, the discovery comes from the VISTA variables in the Via Lactia survey that give this name VVV. There is also a funny story in the WIT part of its name.
“Occasionally we find variable stars that do not match any established department, which we call ‘what is it?’ Or Philip Lucas, a co-leader of these projects, from the University of Hertfordshire in the United Kingdom.