ESO: White dwarf heats up red dwarf with electron beam

Today ESO revealed a new type of exotic binary stars: A red dwarf that is heated by a magnetised white dwarf - It's like a lash punching every 1.97 Minutes at the poor red dwarf. The discovery was rewarded with a publication in Nature1.

The white dwarf is for some reasons highly magnetised and can therefore accelerate electrons to relativistic velocities ("almost lightspeed") - These display a huge energy flow that can heat up the nearby red dwarf every half spinning time.

This artist’s impression shows the strange object AR Scorpii. In this unique double star a rapidly spinning white dwarf star (right) powers electrons up to almost the speed of light. These high energy particles release blasts of radiation that lash the companion red dwarf star (left) and cause the entire system to pulse dramatically every 1.97 minutes with radiation ranging from the ultraviolet to radio.
This artist’s impression shows the strange object AR Scorpii. In this unique double star a rapidly spinning white dwarf star (right) powers electrons up to almost the speed of light. These high energy particles release blasts of radiation that lash the companion red dwarf star (left) and cause the entire system to pulse dramatically every 1.97 minutes with radiation ranging from the ultraviolet to radio. Credits: ESO

The star system has already been found 40 years ago but was mistakenly falsely categorised as variable single star. Amateur-astronomers found peculiarities and follow-up professional observations revealed the true nature of the object.

Details can be found on the ESO page. An because it's beautiful, I also link the video to the artist impression here.

1 "A radio pulsing white dwarf binary star" - T. Marsh et al., to appear in the journal Nature on 28 July 2016.