Saturday, July 17, 2021

The particular case of MY Camelopardalis system

13,000 light-years away from the Solar System, in the direction of the constellation Camelopardalis, there is a very particular star system. Considered for a long time a single variable star, astronomers have realized only in recent years that in truth MY Camelopardalis is a binary system of giant stars in very close orbit. The two components, with masses 32 and 38 times that of the Sun, orbit around each other in just 1.2 days, moving at an impressive speed of one million km per hour.

The two stars are very young, no older than two million years, and it is very likely that they formed in the same positions we see today.

The two stars are so close that their atmospheres have probably already begun to touch and interact. Although there is some degree of uncertainty about what will happen in the future, it is believed that the two stars will eventually merge into a single supergiant star with a mass of 60 solar masses, while the remaining mass will be released in the form of energy.

If this hypothesis were confirmed it would be an important step forward for the understanding of the formation of stars with mass tens of times that of the Sun.

Credit: ESO, L. Cal├žada.

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