Astronomers Discover a Potential Thorne–Zytkow Object, A Neutron Star Inside of a Red Supergiant Star

Large and Small Magellanic Clouds

Astronomers have discovered what may be a Thorne–Zytkow object (TZO), a binary star system where a neutron star is enveloped by a red giant or supergiant star. TZO’s were first theorised in 1977 by Kip Thorne and Anna Zytkow. On June 4th, 2014 a team of astronomers led by Emily Levesque that included Zytkow published a paper identifying red supergiant star HV 2112 in the Small Magellanic Cloud as a possible TZO candidate.

In an interview with Caltech about the discovery, Kip Thorne called the evidence for HV 2112’s classification as a TZO, “strong, but not ironclad.” Adding, “Certainly it’s by far the best candidate for a TZO that anyone has seen, but additional confirmation is needed.”

image via NASA Blueshift

via astrobites, Vice Motherboard

Glen Tickle
Glen Tickle

Amelia's dad. Steph's husband. Writer, comedian, gentleman. Good at juggling, bad at chess.