Scientists at the California Institute of Technology have discovered that the current record-setting heatwave may be due to radiation emitted from an enormous star located at the centre of the solar system.
"We originally thought that if this star was producing temperatures of 100-plus in the South and Midwest, it must be at least 100 degrees itself," Kivens added. "But it turns out it's far, far hotter than that, with a surface temperature of nearly 10,900 degrees Fahrenheit."
Kivens and his CalTech colleagues said this intense radiation, which results from constant nuclear reactions converting hydrogen to helium in the star's core, could also account for why the orb in the sky is extremely bright and difficult to stare at directly.
While scientists initially assumed the heat and luminescence of the star must make it the largest in the universe—a theory lent credence by the star appearing much bigger than other objects in the sky—they said the data actually appear to refute such a notion.
"Apparently it's gigantic simply because it's closer to us than any other star," Kivens said. "Which would also account for why we feel this particular star's heat during the day but are not warmed by the tiny blinking stars we see at night."
"It's interesting stuff," he added.
According to Kivens, the discovery has prompted researchers to explore the possibility that a variety of phenomena accompanying the heat wave could also be linked to the star, including taller grass, hot car seats, red skin burns, and sweating "even when one has just been standing there and hasn't been running around or anything."
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