back to article Astroboffins spot hefty pair swinging together. What? Um, we're talking about record-breaking massive binary stars...

Astronomers have discovered the closest and most massive binary star pair, according to the latest research. The star known as PDS 27 and its companion are two gigantic balls of plasma classified as massive young stellar objects (MYSOs). They have an estimated combined mass of about 12 times that of the Sun, and are locked at …

  1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    I love science.

  2. Sceptic Tank
    Mushroom

    Which way to the nearest supernova?

    Ok, so nearest to the Earth. Which would make it how far? And which way? And when are they expected to explode? Supernova events in close proximity to the Earth tend to make things nasty for the locals.

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: Which way to the nearest supernova?

      PDS 27 is about 8000 light years away, a twelfth of the galactic diameter if you need context.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        It would have been nice if the article had mentioned that. I had to go find another source to find that number.

        1. cray74

          It did require some digging. Even the article with distance information buried it.

          http://www.leeds.ac.uk/news/article/4379/massive_twin_star_snuggles_close_to_its_stellar_sibling

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Which way to the nearest supernova?

      A supernova close to the Earth! OMG, no wonder the cats are looking at me funny - they must have detected something I haven't noticed ... might explain the wife's headache too...

      1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: Which way to the nearest supernova?

        no wonder the cats are looking at me funny

        Trust me - that doesn't require a supernova event in the locality. In fact, just a windy day will do it[1].. (and wind the dog up - his not-very-good-now hearing makes him think that stuff blowing about in the garden is eeevvviiiillll intruders, aiming to break in and steal his food..)

        [1] Or a day with a 'y' in it. Or a temporary rise in the local Paranoia Field strength. Or insufficient treats being handed out. Or missing on catching that small crunchy prey that they had their eyes on. Or 'just because'.

    3. DontFeedTheTrolls Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: Which way to the nearest supernova?

      "you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space"

      Douglas Adams

      1. MrDamage

        Re: Which way to the nearest supernova?

        Upvoted to counter the twatdangle who would dare downvote DA.

    4. Christoph Silver badge

      Re: Which way to the nearest supernova?

      It's badly phrased. I think it means they are the closest to each other, nothing to do with closest to Earth.

  3. Chris G Silver badge

    Why binary?

    It seems likely that the binary systems could be a result of tidal forces within the original accretion disc, causing the material to separate into two distinct bodies. There could be a threshold for where the minimum and maximum amounts of material could allow this to happen.

    I am not by any stretch of the imagination, any kind of astronomer and the maths are totally beyond me.

    1. Oh Matron!

      Re: Why binary?

      My thoughts too: Like a hailstone, there's normally something that triggers the coalescing of matter (like a passing object that get's diverted by the gravity of the cloud), but it's not out of the realms of impossibility to have, like the hedgehog and the Echidna, that two stars coalesce simultaneously but separately

    2. Spherical Cow Bronze badge

      Re: Why binary?

      Another thought: Earth+Moon might be considered a binary system which came about from a collision. Could something similar happen to stars as well as planets? Could binary star systems result from stellar collisions?

      (I'm not an astronomer either)

      1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

        Re: Why binary?

        With a bit more gas Jupiter might have ignited and made us a binary system ... but it didn't happen - when you look at all the possibilities in the galaxy you become aware just how amazingly unique our solar system and our little blue dot is.

        1. mattje

          Re: Why binary?

          Well there is believed to be 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000(1 billion trillion) star systems in the universe, so I wouldn't be too certain that a) we are amazing or b) we are particularly unique

          1. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

            Re: Why binary?

            We're unlikely to be unique, but we might be rare. Given a solar system of rocky inner planets, gas giant outer planets, bombardment by comets to supply water, the right size/temperature/distance of sun, all at a suitable time to eventually create massive amounts of life we may be very rare.

            Also, given interstellar distances, and the age of the universe, if life on Earth is representative of how long it takes to develop life, any other civilisations may be barely imaginable distances away with similar technical abilities to our own. I'm not expecting the sudden arrival of technically superior and enlightened races any time soon.

            1. Rich 11 Silver badge

              Re: Why binary?

              I'm not expecting the sudden arrival of technically superior and enlightened races any time soon.

              It's just us monkeys here. If we can't sort our problems out and stop the world cooking our own civilisation back into the Bronze Age, or avoid blowing each other into a nuclear Fimbulwinter when the resource wars and subcontinent-scale migrations start, we can't rely on anyone else to do it for us. And that goes double for you climate-change-denying morons who think your Jebus is gonna reappear any day now and save us all -- can you say Hallelujah? -- even though people like you have been claiming that for 1900 years. You tits.

              (Sorry. I needed to get that all off my chest. The Brexit twattery level has been high this evening.)

        2. Carpet Deal 'em Bronze badge
          Boffin

          Re: Why binary?

          > With a bit more gas Jupiter might have ignited and made us a binary system

          Only if you consider eighty times again "a bit" - and you'd still need a dozen times more than what's there just to reach the brown dwarf classification. It's one of those bits of "common knowledge" with no basis in reality.

  4. Terje
    Mushroom

    So what is interesting about this object?

    I fail to see what is so remarkable about this pair, Yes they are apparently young pre main sequence stars. Yes they are relatively close together, but not exceptionally so. Yes the more massive a star is the shorter its lifespan. If we make a guess and give the heavier star 8 solar masses a back of the envelope estimate still give it a 50-60 million year main sequence lifetime which is short but not exceptionally so. All this may very well combine to make them rare but as there's nothing particularity extreme about it what is the actual scientific interest in it?

    As a side note, the just a little more mass and Jupiter would have been a star is a bit sad, it would need about 90 times its current mass to reach minimum mass to sustain hydrogen fusion. to even nudge into the realm of a brown dwarf it would need roughly 15 times the current mass...

    Icon because we are talking runaway fusion plasma balls after all.

    1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: So what is interesting about this object?

      runaway fusion plasma balls

      ObTeenager: Are those available on Amazon? 'Cos they sound COOL[1]!

      [1] Other teenager-noises are available. I have no idea what the current slang for a desirable non-sentient[2] object is since it's about 35 years since I was a teenager[3] or spent any time around said mystical beasts..

      [2] I have no idea what the equivalent is for a desirable sentient object is either.

      [3] And I wasn't particularly trendy then either - I was more interested in reading sci-fi and high fantasy, listening to prog records and mucking around with technology. Distinctly at the end of the bell curve of trendiness.

    2. DCFusor Silver badge

      Re: So what is interesting about this object?

      Just a little pedantry. Massive stars don't "have to" burn up their "reserves" because they are massive.

      The DO burn up their fuel quicker if they are more massive and self-gravity makes them more dense before something else disrupts the collapse. Minor complaint, but a poor use of language. No one is making them "have to" and indeed, if disrupted, they don't do so.

      1. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Re: So what is interesting about this object?

        So what's going to disrupt them? A larger binary companion drawing off material? But that would mean... oops.

  5. MassiveBob
    Coat

    massive young stellar objects (MYSOs)

    Is that the correct terminology these days??

    In our youth, we called them BOOBs.

    The lads and I saw many a pair on our nights out in town.

    1. Spherical Cow Bronze badge

      Re: massive young stellar objects (MYSOs)

      Well that certainly explains your handle, MassiveBoob.

  6. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    My theory (which is mine): AHEM!

    The real reason that these giant stars burn out so much more quickly than our own Sun is that while our local star utilizes the as-yet poorly understood processes of gravitational collapse to provide the initiation energy needed for the fission/fusion ballet of elemental transmutation of protons into Iron, a process that can take millennia to complete via myriad intermediate transmutation stages of matter, supergiant stars run on nutty slack using a process that can best be described as coal => ash.

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: Bah!

      I don't like this theory which is yours. Insufficient dinosaurs. Correct it at once.

  7. HildyJ
    Trollface

    LGBT

    Astronomy has discovered Binary stars and Trans-Neptunian objects but nothing that's Lesbian or Gay. I blame the millennials.

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: LGBT

      The Good and Great Lord of All will not be mocked! The wickedness of the Trans-Neptunian objects will be wiped out, I tell you, by fire and flood and gamma-ray burster. I have foreseen this. Our sweet lord, the Creator of the Universe, has vouchsafed me this prophetic visio...

      Oh, wait. He's just hit Alpha Centauri by mistake. As you were.

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