Cairo University

MTPR Journal

 

SURPRISING RAPID COLLAPSE OF SIRIUS B FROM RED GIANT TO WHITE DWARF THROUGH MASS TRANSFER TO SIRIUS A

& doi: https://doi.org/10.1142/9789814504898_0046
SHAHINAZ YOUSEF and OLA ALI
Astronomy and Meteorology Department, Faculty of Science, Cairo University, Egypt


Vol./Issue: 13 , id: 388

Sirius was observed in antiquity as a red star. In his famous astronomy textbook the Almagest written 140 AD, Ptolemy described the star Sirius as fiery red. He curiously depicted it as one of six red-colored stars. The other five are class M and K stars, such as Arcturus and Betelgeuse. Apparent confirmation in ancient Greek and Roman sources are found and Sirius was also reported red in Europe about 1400 years ago. Sirius must have changed to a white dwarf in the night of Ascension. The star chapter in the Quran started with “by the star as it collapsed (1) your companion have not gone astray nor being misled (2), and in verse 49 which is the rotation period of the companion Sirius B around Sirius A, it is said” He is the Lord of Sirius (49). If Sirius actually was red what could have caused it to change into the brilliant bluish-white star we see today? What the naked eye perceives as a single star is actually a binary star system, consisting of a white main sequence star of spectral type A1V, termed Sirius A, and a faint white dwarf companion of spectral type DA2, termed Sirius B. The red color indicates that the star seen then was a red giant. It looks that what they have seen in antiquity was Sirius B which was then a red giant and it collapsed to form a white dwarf. Since there is no evidence of a planetary nebula, then the red Sirius paradox can be solved in terms of stellar evolution with mass transfer. Sirius B was the most massive star which evolved to a red giant and filled the Roche lobe. Mass transfer to Sirius A occurred through the Lagrangian point. Sirius A then became more massive while Sirius B lost mass and shrank. Sirius B then collapsed abruptly into a white dwarf. In the case of Algol, Ptolmy observed it as white star but it was red at the time of El sufi. At present it is white. The rate of mass transfer from Sirius B to Sirius A, and from Algol B to A is estimated from observational data of colour change from red to bullish white to be 0.0021 and 0.0024 M⊙/yr respectively.