April 7, 2011

Two Dying Stars Will Be Reborn As One in 37 M Yrs

Harvard University, Harvard University


Harvard Univ.

Cambridge, MA - White dwarfs are dead stars that pack a Sun's-worth of matter into an Earth-sized ball. Astronomers have just discovered an amazing pair of white dwarfs whirling around each other once every 39 minutes. This is the shortest-period pair of white dwarfs now known. Moreover, in a few million years they will collide and merge to create a single star.

"These stars have already lived a full life. When they merge, they'll essentially be 'reborn' and enjoy a second life," said Smithsonian astronomer Mukremin Kilic (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics), lead author on the paper announcing the discovery.

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TAGGED: White Dwarf Stars, Binary Star System