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“Dracula’s Chivito” has been deemed the most fitting name for a recently discovered astronomical entity

Astronomers have identified a recently formed and distinctive star, which they have christened Dracula’s Chivito, in reference to a well-known Uruguayan sandwich. The name is an acknowledgement to the most comparable item we have seen before, the similarly unforgettable Gomez’ Hamburger.

Stars have the ability to last for billions of years, yet, they are particularly captivating during the comparatively short periods of their birth and demise. This is partially due to the greater variety seen during these phases compared to their middle-aged phase. An example that is highly regarded is IRAS 18059-3211, which was identified in 1985 based on photographs taken by Arturo Gómez. The burger has been given the moniker “Gomez’s Hamburger” or “GoHam” due to its resemblance to meat placed between two pieces of bread.

GoHam is intriguing because to its observation at the phase when the adjacent disk has not yet undergone condensation into planets, and its orientation is remarkably perpendicular. Situated at a distance of 800 light years, it is not considered to be in close proximity (although some estimates suggest a greater distance), however it is undeniably more accessible for scientific examination compared to the majority of the galaxy. Interestingly, this particular location does not belong to a cluster of stars, which is the typical scenario for most newly formed stars that tend to be densely packed together.

It has taken 39 years since the discovery of GoHam for us to finally identify a counterpart, but we have now found an extremely similar match. Meanwhile, the authors of a preprint study acknowledge that these edge-on disks have been acknowledged as potentially valuable in addressing inquiries posed by disks seen from different perspectives.

“The researchers highlight that the shadows created by the dense accumulation of dust and gas in inclined disks enable the direct observation of light that is scattered by the central star. This allows for the examination of the vertical arrangement of dust particles, revealing valuable details about their sizes, compositions, and how they settle,” they explain.

While conducting their search for galaxies that may have black holes consuming infalling material, the scientists did not intend to find GoHam’s siblings. During their exploration, they encountered an object that exhibited a disk with a distinct bipolar look, where the center star was entirely concealed. Prior observations were conducted using radio frequencies, but they failed to uncover the level of intrigue associated with it.

Subsequent investigations of GoHam indicated a mass that is about 2.5 times greater than that of the Sun. The disk is estimated to have a mass of 0.03 solar masses, which may seem insignificant until one considers that it is 20 times larger than the combined mass of all the planets, asteroids, and comets in the Solar System. Indications of planet formation are already present.

Astronomers sometimes assign thematically comparable names to similar objects, such as naming a star resembling Godzilla as Mothra. Therefore, the recent finding required a name that is connected to Gomez’s Hamburger. Observing the presence of elongated teeth resembling fangs on the northern side, the explorers deemed it fitting to make a connection to Dracula. The team decided to name it after Dr. Ana Mosquera’s home country, Uruguay, and its national food, which is a bun loaded with beefsteak, cheese, ham, and other veggies.

“More compact clusters undergo gravitational collapse until the process of fusion initiates,” said Dr. Ciprian Berghea, the main author from the US Naval Observatory, in an interview with IFLScience. The nascent star is currently in the “pre-main sequence” phase, and a compact disk made of gas and dust, as well as an envelope made up of the remains of the cloud clump, are surrounding it. If the envelope is very weak, just the more luminous ‘edges’ of the envelope, referred to as ‘fangs’, are visible. Enhanced observations would likely offer a more comprehensive view of the envelope. In pursuit of this objective, the team is endeavoring to allocate the Hubble or JWST resources to observe DraChi.

The announcement mentions additional objects that are characterized as resembling the pair, but they are far smaller, either due to their inherent size or greater distance, making them more challenging to investigate. Dracula’s Chivito, often known as DraChi, looks to be 50 percent bigger than GoHam, while likely being at a comparable distance. The core star is believed to have a temperature that is more than 33% higher than that of the Sun, but the mass of its disk is estimated to be somewhat less than that of GoHam’s.

The manuscript has been formally submitted to the Astrophysical Journal Letters, and a preliminary version is available for viewing on ArXiv.org.

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