Star’s Magnetic Field Twirls Gas

Jun 9, 2021 | Daily Space, Stars

IMAGE: An illustration of a fast-spinning, magnetic white dwarf rejecting the donor gas in the cataclysmic variable known as J0240. CREDIT: Dr. Mark Garlick

We are amused to report that, for the second time, a star has been observed to twirl away incoming gas instead of allowing it to form a nice disk. When white dwarfs form in binary systems, they gravitationally steal material from their companions. Normally that material flows between the stars, but in the case of binary system J0240, researcher Peter Garnavich finds the young, fast-rotating white dwarf is spinning so fast and has such a strong magnetic field that the infalling material is just flung away like it is hitting fan blades. Since this is only the second known example of this, it’s not well understood. But it is cool. When we know more, we’ll bring it to you here on the Daily Space. 

More Information

Notre Dame press release

“Confirmation of a Second Propeller: A High-Inclination Twin of AE~Aquarii,” Peter Garnavich et al., submitted to The Astrophysical Journal (preprint on


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