In 2009, a binary star that had been flaring up for years suddenly exploded, growing millions of times brighter in a cosmic blink. Now, after carefully studying the lead up to and aftermath of the extraordinary event, a team of Polish astronomers describes what happened in a new scientific paper. Basically, a zombie…
Some 380 light years away in the constellation Scorpius lies a star that has puzzled astronomers for over 40 years. Called AR Scorpii, the star flashes brightly and fades again every couple minutes, like a lightbulb on a dimmer switch. Now, astronomers have identified the cause of the flickering, and it’s a reminder…
Behold VFTS 352, the hottest and most massive “overcontact binary” star system ever discovered. The two stars, which are so close that they’re touching, feature a combined mass 57 times that of our Sun. Astronomers say it’s a unique stellar relationship that will culminate in a rather dramatic finish.
For decades, astronomers have assumed that Earth-like planets cannot form around binary stars on account of wacky gravitational effects. Which, for Star Wars fans, was a total downer. But a new study suggests that not only is the formation of Tatooine-like planets very much possible, they may actually be quite common.
The Eta Carinae binary star system erupted twice in the 19th century, creating a stunning and rapidly expanding debris cloud. Now, for the first time ever, NASA has peered past the dusty clouds to catch a glimpse of its interior.
European astronomers have detected an unprecedented binary system featuring two hot blue O-type stars in orbits so tight they're actually touching each other — and they're not entirely sure what will happen when the stars complete their massive merger.
For years, astronomers have been fascinated and perplexed by what appears to be a massive cloud of gas and dust hurtling towards the black hole at the center of the galaxy. A team from UCLA now say they've finally figured out what it is.
New research shows that star-snuggling hot Jupiters, despite being only a thousandth of the mass of their host suns, make their host stars wobble like a spinning top.
There's some strange things floating around in our galaxy, but this has to be one of the weirdest. A double star system with misaligned protoplanetary disks around 450 light-years from Earth has been discovered, potentially explaining why some exoplanet orbits can be wildly eccentric.
Last century, a massive binary system went supernova, ejecting at least 10 times the mass of our Sun into space. NASA scientists have now created the first hi-res model of the expanding cloud produced by this iconic outburst.
It may not be anything like Tatooine of Star Wars, but this discovery is still incredible. We've found a frozen, rocky planet orbiting one of its two parent binary stars in a stable Earth-like orbit. This significantly expands our sense of where life can emerge in the galaxy.
Moons in close binary solar systems have a better chance of hosting life than those in single-star systems, new research has shown.
Every once in a while, the Milky Way's supermassive black hole flings a wayward star into intergalactic space at speeds reaching 2 million miles per hour. But astronomers have now discovered a surprising new class of "hypervelocity stars" that can escape the galaxy — and they don't need the galactic core to do it.
There is a demon's head winking at us every few nights. It's brightest during the winter months, so you might be able to see it on clear nights in the northern hemisphere. Some considered it bad luck — and some considered it the cause of a paradox of astronomy.
What you're looking at here is the first direct imaging of a planet orbiting a pair of stars. Trouble is, the planet is so large — about 12 to 14 times the size of Jupiter — that it might actually be a failed star, a so-called brown dwarf. But for now, the astronomers are cool with calling the massive object a planet.
A team of scientists using the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope (UKIRT) in Hawaii have found four different pairs of binary systems whose stars are so close to each other that it takes them less than four hours to orbit one another. Previous estimates indicated that stars shouldn't be allowed to do this — they…
We already know that black holes swallow stars — and entire solar systems — but what effect does a stellar diet have on black holes? A new study suggests that eating stars is what turns baby black holes into supermassive black holes.
Three different sets of binary stars - two stars locked in orbit around each other - are surrounded by huge clouds of dust. Astronomers suspect these are the remains of gigantic planetary collisions caused by the binary stars' intense gravity.