Science

Mysterious cold blobs may be hiding inside a distant star

A small star called AU Microscopii seems to contain strange pockets of hydrogen thousand of degrees colder than the rest of the star, and astronomers aren’t sure why

Space



10 June 2022

KRB4DP This is an artist's impression of the view from the vicinity of a hypothetical terrestrial planet and moon orbiting the red dwarf star AU Microscopii. The relatively newborn 12 million year-old star is surrounded by a very dusty disk of debris from the collision of comets, asteroids, and planetissimals swirling around the young star. Though no planets have been discovered around the star, the disk is strong circumstantial evidence for planets. Not only is it dusty, but also it is warped, possibly by the pull of one or more planets. In this view the glow of starlight reflecting off the disk cre

Artist’s impression of a hypothetical planet and moon orbiting the red dwarf star AU Microscopii

NASA Image Collection/Alamy

The distant star AU Microscopii may have mysterious cold spots. It seems to contain pockets of hydrogen that are more than 1500°C colder than the surrounding areas, and astronomers aren’t sure why.

AU Microscopii, or AU Mic, is a relatively small star about 32 light years away. Laura Flagg at Cornell University was testing an algorithm using data on AU Mic taken by the Hubble Space Telescope in 1998 when she noticed something …


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