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How stellar vampires find love at first bite

World

How stellar vampires find love at first bite

Astronomers have had a rare glimpse of stars sucking the life out of each other

Will Dunham

Astronomers have got a good look at what happens when a “vampire” star sucks the outer layers of material from a companion star, stripping this “bitten” victim down to a mere stellar core.

Researchers said on Wednesday data obtained using Chile-based European Southern Observatory (ESO) telescopes clarified the nature of a star system called HR 6819, showing that its two companion stars were not accompanied by a black hole as was previously proposed.

The two stars instead exist as a binary system, gravitationally married in an orbit lasting about 40 days. While binary systems are common, what makes this one so unique is that it has provided a rare glimpse of the immediate aftermath of what is dubbed stellar vampirism...

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