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The TZO: Light and fluffy outside, dense and crunchy inside

Binary stars are common in our galaxy. In fact, singleton star systems like ours make up only 15% of the systems in the Milky Way. In the 1970s, astronomers Kip Thorne and Anna Żytkow, imagined what might happen if a neutron star in a binary system merged with its partner, a red supergiant. Recently, a real example of this strange star-within-a-star, known as a Thorne–Żytkow object (TZO), appears to have been spotted. (Preprint.)
posted by CheeseDigestsAll on Sep 16, 2014 - 21 comments

The cosmos is also within us, we're made of star-stuff. We are a way for the cosmos, to know itself.

Cosmos: A Personal Voyage is a thirteen-part television series of one hour shows written by Carl Sagan, Ann Druyan, and Steven Soter, that was aired at the tail end of 1980 and was - at the time - the most widely watched series in the history of American public television. It is best introduced by an audio excerpt of one of his books, The Pale Blue Dot. Inside is a complete annotated collection of the series. [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Nov 3, 2012 - 46 comments

Things to look forward to.

We have about 4 billion years left until our planet is going to be destroyed. If a meteor doesn't smash us in first, over the next 250 million years the continents will continue drifting to form another pangea. If we're all still friends having survived the climate change and each other, we'll be roasted by the expanding red giant after our sun exhausts its interior hydrogen supply. In about 5.5 billion years time the helium left in the core will get hot and dense enough to burn, flaring up in a massive helium flash engulfing what remains of the solar system. When the helium core is gone, hydrogen in the outermost layers will drift off to form a ring nebula, leaving in the middle a bright white dwarf star that will slowly cool down into a cold, dense black dwarf: a silent and forgotten fossil, floating through infinite space. In other news: cats are funny! hahahahaha!
posted by 6am on May 8, 2006 - 69 comments

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