Instead of happily orbiting in circles with constant velocity, the two stars spend most of their time far apart, and a few harrowing hours racing past each other. Or, to put it another way: hours and hours of boredom punctuated by moments of sheer terror. This is a heartbeat star.
Neutron stars can provide insights into extreme and exotic states of matter.
The longest-lasting, most energetic explosions in the universe might occur in rare stars very similar to the very first stars to form in the universe.
Is CoRoT-7d real, or is it stellar activity masquerading as a planet? Haywood et al. build a noise model to analyze CoRoT-7′s activity to find out.
How do pulsating stars give away their secret identities as binary dance partners? In this paper, the authors demonstrate a new way to not only detect binaries we may have missed in the Kepler data, but also to measure their velocities without spectra.
Hot Jupiters offer an interesting mechanism for affecting the rotation and magnetic activity levels of their host stars.
We have repeatedly seen how Kepler goes above and beyond its original mission of finding exoplanets. Today’s paper is no exception.
Enter the observed oddball: a subdwarf B (sdB) star. These unexpected stars are fusing helium into carbon and oxygen in their core and only have a thin hydrogen envelope. So, where did the hydrogen go?
Most binary stars probably formed at the same time, meaning all stars in the same system should have the same age. The authors of this paper analyze a stellar binary system where one star appears to be lying about its age, as one star appears 3 billion years older than its companion.
The link between a pile of data and a physical explanation is the fun part. Astronomers spend countless hours gathering data, and countless more thinking up physical models for different pieces of the Universe. But reconciling these two things—finding a model that not only agrees with observations, but is the sole likely explanation—isn’t easy.