Unusual Double Star

Using the very large telescope in Chile have discovered a so-called double star astronomers, who is the so far mass richest its kind. The two single star, this cosmic tandems have dressed so much, that they are already touching. Is it not too long to keep her present state. Actually, it‘s about nothing less than life or death of two celestial bodies.

Unusual Double Star
Looks a bit like flying in this “8” formation. The double star VFTS 352 in an artistic representation.

Unusual Double Star – nothing like this before

The two bodies of the star system VFTS 352 circle are so close together that at least their outer shell of gas already merge. The international team of researchers in the European Southern Observatory ESO emphasized the rarity of this discovery in the Tarantula Nebula, which is approximately 160,000 light-years from Earth. A light-year is equal to a distance of 9.5 trillion kilometers. Traced the astronomers have the cosmic twins using the very large telescope in Chile, is regarded as the most sophisticated optical instrument of the world.

Location of VFTS 352 in the Large Magellanic Cloud
This picture shows the position of VFTS 352 (m) – the previously hottest and richest mass well known double star system, where the two components in contact with each other and share matter. The two stars are located about 160,000 light-years from Earth in the large Magellanic Cloud. This fascinating system could be headed for a dramatic end, either with the emergence of a huge single star or as a future double black hole.

So exceptionally in the already small group of so-called excess contact systems – between two stars a kind of bridge was formed – is the fact that both bodies are almost exactly equal in size to the one. Their enormous mass is no less unusual: together succeed in both star on the almost 60 times solar mass. The ESO estimates that around the two celestial bodies share 30% their matter. But above all this number could rise significantly.

Fusion or double Black Hole? An uncertain future

The discovery of VFTS 352 is a fluke, since such double star never persist in this transition situation The forces that attract both bodies are too. The ESO predicts the unusual stars duo two different future scenarios, with a strictly speaking would be the death knell..

If the very large telescope of the ESO in Chile from in the night sky can look, to see like this has been greeted with a breathtaking view. Speckles of blue, Orange, red – everyone either a star, a Galaxy, a mist or something else, what makes the sparkling night sky together.

Those bleak variation explains Selma, theoretical astrophysicist of the team: “If the star good enough are mixed, they both remain compact and the VFTS 352 system escapes the merger.” This would lead these objects on a completely different path as it predicts the classic stellar evolution. In the case of VFTS 352 both stars would likely to end their lives in supernova explosions and thus form a close binary system of black holes.”

That, however, so look so to speak life affirming development that both bodies are neatly merge. A huge single star that rotates quickly and possessed strong magnetic properties would be born. A too long-running Turbo-rotation could include the end but also in this scenario: brought about by an enormously energetic explosion.

In addition to its mass VFTS 352 by the way has an another superlative: in the class of binary stars no another pair was discovered so far, the surface of which is so hot: over 40,000 ° C.