Great picture captioning
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Astroboffins peering through the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope have figured out that most of the brightest stars in the universe are constantly having the life sucked out of them by vampire stars. A vampire star and its victim In the heart of Transylvan-ia, In the Vampire Hall of Fame-yeah... Credit: ESA/ …
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If there's one thing that's sure to rub me up the wrong way it's the sensationalism of science. Science is intrinsically pretty damn sensational but it does need an adequate understanding of the science to perceive just how sensational it is. Unfortunately, this article seemed to focus more upon sensationalism than understanding and I suspect that more was said in this Reg article, in pursuit of sensationalism, than was present in the Science publication.
For example, to say "a third of these pairs are eventually expected to merge..." is fair enough but to continue with "...as the vampire consumes the last of its hapless friend." is not only sensationalist but a bit dubious. The problem here is that it gives the impression of the O type star gradually vanishing as it is 'hoovered' up by the companion when what will actually happen, as the companion star acquires mass from the O type star, is that both stars will expand and eventually merge. The companion star will expand because of the additional mass it has acquired and the O type star will expand because the reduction of its mass will mean less gravitational pressure upon its core, countering the outward pressure from the fusion going on within. The outer atmospheres of both stars will merge first whilst the two inner cores spiral in towards each other, also to finally merge. However, this process will be quite an eventful process as both stars will have to constantly re-balance gravitational pressure against fusion pressure.
Play the game, this is The Reg. I'm only surprised (and slightly disappointed) that there was no way to work boobs or at least underwired nightdresses in there.
"I'm only surprised (and slightly disappointed) that there was no way to work boobs or at least underwired nightdresses in there."
Well, they did mention "sucking" - I guess that's all that can be had..
I didn't think real scientists did Fahrenheit, particularly not this side of the pond.
Actually 54000 °F is very close to 30000 °C, so my guess is that a scientist guessed the surface temperature as 30k °C ±5k and someone else (probably the journalist) has then decided make the number bigger by converting to Fahrenheit -- giving a false impression of accuracty while they're about it.
Probably so - explains the weird level of precision on such a generic discussion of a common event.
More likely it was 30000 K because astrophysicists use Kelvins almost universally.
Actually this article was based on a report from the hubble.org site from 26th July.
And yes, the US scientists still use imperial measures.
One would of thought that after that Mars lander crash years ago, which was due to mixing up imperial and metric measures, they would start using international measures.
I have contacted the editors at the hubble.org site 2x, requesting that if they insist on continuing to use imperial measures that they at least include the metric ones as well, but no, they still only do the imperial ones in their articles.
Live fast, die young, and leave an attractive corpse.
All the better if you can collapse to a black hole, of course.
I call them "Robin Hood stars" - robbing from the (mass) rich and giving to the (mass) poor. Well not so much of the latter but anything that strikes a blow against the bloated fat-cats* of the star world is fine by me.
*Can I get one for Tom Cruise, please.
Surely the smaller star has more mass, and a stronger gravitational force?
but... wouldn't vampires turn to dust in the sunlight?
No "Vampires prefer Type O*" subhead?
(* Makes sense that they WOULD, actually, Type O being the universal donor...)
It sounds a little like "It" from A Wrinkle in Time which FREAKED ME THE HELL OUT when I was 8 years old.