HESS J1731-347, an extremely tiny neutron star discovered by researchers at the Institut für Astronomie und Astrophysik in Germany, maybe a “strange” star. Victor Doroshenko, Valery Suleimanov, Gerd Pühlhofer, and Andrea Santangelo describe a new approach to recalculating the distance of the star and their discovery of characteristics that suggest it could be of the strange star variety in their paper published in the journal Nature Astronomy.
Previous research suggested that a strange star should resemble a neutron star but contain a much higher proportion of strange quarks due to the breakdown of subatomic particles. According to theory, strange stars would have equal proportions of strange, up, and down quarks.
HESS J1731-347 is currently classified as a neutron star, but it is unusual in that its mass is less than that of the sun. According to theory, neutron stars can never have a mass less than 1.1 times that of the sun. As a result, some in the space science community are wondering if HESS J1731-347 is a strange star.
To find out, the researchers devised a novel method of measuring its distance. They recalculated the star’s distance from Earth using data from the Gaia mapping survey as well as new information about a nearby star. They discovered that it was much closer than previous research had suggested. This discovery necessitated recalculations of the star’s radius and mass, which they discovered to be 10.4 kilometres and 0.77 solar masses, respectively. This raised the question of whether it was still a neutron star. According to the researchers, the star is not only exotic, but it may also be a strange star.
More research is needed before the space community can come to a decision. If confirmed, HESS J1731-347 would be the first confirmed strange star, and the theory underlying its existence would be confirmed as well. If it is discovered to be a normal star, theories about neutron stars may have to be reconsidered.