Last updated on April 16, 2014 at 12:31 EDT

Latest Binary star Stories

2007-04-17 10:45:00

Cambridge, MA - Astronomers have found the lowest mass white dwarf known in our galaxy: a Saturn-sized ball of helium containing only about one-fifth the mass of the Sun. In addition, they have spotted the source of the white dwarf's radical weight-loss plan. An unseen companion, likely another white dwarf, has sucked away much of the tiny white dwarf's material, leaving it a shadow of its former self. "This star is bizarre," said Warren Brown of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for...

2007-03-29 12:25:00

The double sunset that Luke Skywalker gazed upon in the film Star Wars might not be a fantasy. Astronomers using NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope have observed that planetary systems -- dusty disks of asteroids, comets, and possibly planets -- are at least as abundant in twin-star systems as they are in those, like our own, with only one star. Since more than half of all stars are twins, or binaries, the finding suggests the universe is packed with planets that have two suns. Sunsets on some...

2007-03-07 13:09:38

Proof that certain double star systems can erupt in full-blown explosions and then continue to flare up with smaller bursts has been spotted by the ultraviolet eyes of NASA's Galaxy Evolution Explorer. The finding bolsters a 20-year-old theory that suggests such double-star, or binary systems, should eventually undergo both types of explosion, rather than just one or the other. It implies the systems probably cycle between two blast types, hiccupping every few weeks with small surges until...

2007-02-22 11:20:00

Twenty years ago, astronomers witnessed one of the brightest stellar explosions in more than 400 years. The titanic supernova, called SN 1987A, blazed with the power of 100 million suns for several months following its discovery on Feb. 23, 1987. Observations of SN 1987A, made over the past 20 years by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and many other major ground- and space-based telescopes, have significantly changed astronomers' views of how massive stars end their lives. Astronomers credit...

2007-02-16 14:20:00

Imagine two stars with winds so intense that they eject an Earth's worth of material roughly once every month. Next, imagine those two winds colliding head-on. Such titanic collisions produce multimillion-degree gas, which radiates brilliantly in X-rays. Astronomers have conclusively identified the X-rays from about two-dozen of these systems in our Milky Way. But they have never seen one outside our galaxy "” until now. Thanks to the European Space Agency's XMM-Newton X-ray...

2007-01-11 09:25:00

Like cold case investigators, astronomers have used NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory to uncover evidence of a powerful outburst from the giant black hole at the Milky Way's center. A light echo was produced when X-ray light generated by gas falling into the Milky Way's supermassive black hole, known as Sagittarius A* (pronounced "A-star"), was reflected off gas clouds near the black hole. While the primary X-rays from the outburst would have reached Earth about 50 years ago, the reflected...

2007-01-04 14:55:00

Evidence for a significant new class of supernova has been found with NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and the European Space Agency's XMM-Newton. These results strengthen the case for a population of stars that evolve rapidly and are destroyed by thermonuclear explosions. Such "prompt" supernovas could be valuable tools for probing the early history of the cosmos. A team of astronomers uncovered a puzzling situation when they examined X-ray data from DEM L238 and DEM L249, the remnants of...

2006-11-27 09:55:00

ESA's gamma-ray observatory, Integral, has spotted a rare kind of gamma-ray outburst. The vast explosion of energy allowed astronomers to pinpoint a possible black hole in our Galaxy. The outburst was discovered on 17 September 2006 by staff at the Integral Science Data Centre (ISDC), Versoix, Switzerland. Inside the ISDC, astronomers constantly monitor the data coming down from Integral because they know the sky at gamma-ray wavelengths can be a swiftly changing place. "The galactic centre...

2006-08-04 12:26:05

COLUMBUS, Ohio - That intergalactic road trip to Triangulum is going to take a little longer than you had planned. An Ohio State University astronomer and his colleagues have determined that the Triangulum Galaxy, otherwise known as M33, is actually about 15 percent farther away from our galaxy than previously measured. This finding implies that the Hubble constant, a number that astronomers rely on to calculate a host of factors -- including the size and age of the universe -- could be...

2006-07-07 09:44:46

Thanks to data from ESA's XMM-Newton satellite, a team of scientists taking a closer look at an object discovered over 25 years ago have found that it is like none other known in our galaxy. The object is in the heart of supernova remnant RCW103, the gaseous remains of a star that exploded about 2 000 years ago. Taken at face value, RCW103 and its central source would appear to be a textbook example of what is left behind after a supernova explosion: a bubble of ejected material and a neutron...

Latest Binary star Reference Libraries

2004-10-19 04:45:44

Lyra Constellation -- Lyra (the lyre) is a prominent, although fairly small, northern constellation. It was one of Ptolemy's 48 constellations, and also counts among the modern 88 constellations. Its brightest star is Vega (Alpha Lyrae), which together with Altair (Alpha Aquilae) and Deneb (Alpha Cygni) forms the large asterism known as the Summer Triangle. Beta Lyr is a half separated (i.e. one of the stars reached its Rochevolume) eclipsing binary of a cream-white colour. The...

2004-10-19 04:45:43

X-ray Burster -- X-ray bursters are a class of binary stars which are luminous in X-rays. They contain a neutron star and a low-mass companion star. The companion fills its Roche lobe and therefore the neutron star is accreting matter from it. The inflowing gas forms an accretion disk around the neutron star. Sometimes X-ray bursters show a sudden increase in their X-ray luminosity, called X-ray burst. All properties of the X-ray bursts can be explained assuming that they result from...

2004-10-19 04:45:43

X-ray Binaries -- X-ray binaries are a class of binary stars that are very luminous in X-rays. The X-rays are produced by matter falling from one component (usually a relatively normal star) to the other component, which is a neutron star or a black hole. The infalling matter releases gravitational potential energy, up to several tens of per cent of its rest mass as X-rays. (Hydrogen fusion releases about 0.7 per cent of rest mass) X-ray binaries are further subdivided into...

2004-10-19 04:45:43

Variable Star -- Most stars are of nearly constant luminosity. Our own Sun is a good example which goes through practically no measurable variation in brightness. There are, however, stars which do vary in brightness, called variable stars. They fall into two main groups: Intrinsic variables These are stars which have intrinsic variations in brightness, that is the star itself gets brighter and dimmer. There are many types of intrinsic variables, the main types being: -- Mira...

2004-10-19 04:45:42

Triple Star -- A triple star system consists of three gravitationally bound stars. The stars are in orbits around a common center of mass, usually so that two of the stars form a close binary star and the third is further away. This configuration is often called a hierarchical triple star. Multiple stars containing more than three stars can usually be decomposed to binaries and single stars that are in a hierachically bound system. ----- Click here to learn more on this...

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