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Contact Binaries and Merging Stars

A contact binary is two stars that are so close that their surfaces are touching. In profile, such a system would resemble a peanut. As the two stars orbit each other, they lose momentum, so they eventually spiral together. Such a merger could produce a bright outburst, known as a nova, with the two stars forming a single, more-massive star. It could also produce a supernova explosion, which would completely destroy the two stars.

 

Radio Programs

Contact Binaries Stars that are especially close February 21, 2020

VW Cephei Two stars in a tight embrace May 19, 2018

Future Cannibal A future act of stellar cannibalism May 6, 2018

Bright Quartet A fascinating stellar quartet April 11, 2018

Future Fireworks Getting ready for some fireworks June 29, 2017

Red Nova An exploding star turns red June 28, 2017

Featured Images

contact binary

Making Contact February 21, 2020