Deep inside the Tarantula Nebula, about 160,000 light-years from Earth, there are a couple of rather unusual stars.
These two young stars are among the most extreme stellar binary systems found before this time - they turn around each other in less than a day. Their orbital embrace is extreme; the superheated plasma of their photosphere can be mixed with one share with another.
A binary pair of stars, called VFTS 352, was detected by the Very Southern Telescope telescope of the European Southern Observatory, the use of which was planned to look deep into the emerging stars of the nebula. Thanks to these observations, astronomers discovered that the plasma is hot, and the bright stars are the overlap, forming a bridge connecting the two masses. Their centers are only 12 million kilometers apart (7.5 million miles).
Known as the “tight binary system” this strange object has a dramatic future. Since it is not only the heaviest close binary system of stars (its total mass is 57 times the solar mass), it is also the hottest binary star couple, burning everything in its path at a surface temperature of about 40,000 degrees Celsius ( or Kelvin). As a rule, such binary pairs of stars consist of a small star and a more massive partner. In this case, the force of gravity of a star with a large mass attracts the mass of its smaller partner - hence the nickname “star vampire”. But VFTS 352 differs from other pairs in that both components have the same mass, and therefore the stars do not have the advantage of increasing plasma relative to each other. Astronomers believe that this pair exchanged plasma at the level of 30%.
"In any case, apart from VFTS 352, such hot and massive binary stars have not yet been found that could show such a limit of internal mixing," said Leonardo A. Almeida from the University of São Paulo, Brazil, and the author of a new article published in Astrophysical Journal. "This is a fascinating and important discovery."
Despite the fact that both elements of the represented binary star system exist in relative harmony at the present time, a change may happen very soon. According to the Almeida team version, both stars will either merge, creating one massive, rapidly rotating star, or both may become supernova, ultimately creating a black hole in the binary system. In the event that both stars undergo a merger, it is likely that the entire system will explode from a powerful explosion known as a gamma-ray burst. But if everything goes according to the second scenario, in an extreme environment of space, stirred up by the formation of two black holes located near two orbital black holes, powerful gravitational waves will be generated.
However that may be, this is another amazing discovery, showing that extraordinary in the field of stellar physics can occur in our outer space.