Tags: tarantula | nebula | double | star

Tarantula Nebula Double Star – aka 'Kissing Stars' – Doomed?

Image: Tarantula Nebula Double Star – aka 'Kissing Stars' – Doomed?
(ESO/L. Calçada)

By    |   Thursday, 22 Oct 2015 06:27 AM

The Tarantula Nebula's "kissing stars" may be coming to a quick end, say scientists who have been studying the double star 160,000 light years from Earth.

The double star was spotted in the extreme system VFTS 352, according to the European Southern Observatory, and the two bodies are so close together they are touching each other. Astronomers believe the double star will eventually create a single giant star or form a black hole.

"Extreme stars like the two components of VFTS 352 play a key role in the evolution of galaxies and are thought to be the main producers of elements such as oxygen," according to the observatory. "Such double stars are also linked to exotic behavior such as that shown by 'vampire stars,' where a smaller companion star sucks matter from the surface of its larger neighbor."

According to Space.com, spotting the overlapping double star in the current stage of development is "extremely rare" because the objects only stay in that formation for a short period of time.

"As such, it's a fascinating and important discovery," said the University of São Paulo's Leonardo Almeida. Almeida is the lead author of a study that identified the unusual pair of kissing stars.

The European Southern Observatory said the surface temperature of the stars is in the range of 40,000 degrees Celsius and they have a combined mass 57 times of the Earth's sun. The centers of each star are separated by 12 million kilometers.

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has also been peering into the Tarantula Nebula, according to the space agency's website. The Hubble Tarantula Treasury Program has found more than 800,000 stars and protostars inside the nebula.

The first results from the Tarantula Treasury Program were published in the Astronomical Journal.

"When complete, the program will produce a large catalog of stellar properties, which will allow astronomers to study a wide range of important topics related to star formation," NASA said last year.

"This near-infrared view reveals newly formed stars that are often embedded in clouds of dust, and only the near-infrared light can pass through these clouds." 


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The Tarantula Nebula's "kissing stars" may be coming to a quick end, say scientists who have been studying the double star 160,000 light years from Earth.
tarantula, nebula, double, star
372
2015-27-22
Thursday, 22 Oct 2015 06:27 AM
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