Scientists have discovered a binary system about 3,000 light-years away, in which a small dead star periodically "takes" gas from its companion, a brown dwarf.
The found system belongs to the class of cataclysmic variables. In their case, we are talking about a white dwarf (the compact core of a star with a mass of the sun), absorbing the material of its larger companion. The newly discovered system is unusual in that the companion of the white dwarf is a brown dwarf - an object that began to form as a star, but was unable to accrete the necessary mass to trigger hydrogen fusion reactions in the core. Such objects are sometimes referred to as "failed stars"; the value of their mass lies between the masses of gas giants and small stars.
In the newly discovered system, the brown dwarf is said to be about 10 times less massive than the white dwarf. It is noted that the data on the basis of which the discovery was made was obtained by the Kepler space telescope in 2016. Later this information was analyzed, and scientists discovered a system in which in a 30-day period the dwarf nova suddenly became 1,600 times brighter, after which it quickly dimmed and then gradually returned to normal brightness.
According to scientists, the detected brightness was produced by material orbiting a white dwarf in an accretion disk (the same - but on a much larger scale - happens around supermassive black holes).