Giant blue star is rugby-ball shaped, with a smaller blue companion to lower left

Stellar Science

Surf’s Up: Waves Might Be Breaking on This Star

An unusual star system that brightens and fades every month might have giant plasma waves breaking on its surface.

Illustration of binary shows their current and past diameters

Stellar Science

Astronomers Spot A Tiny Binary System

A tiny binary system is not only small but also ancient, billions of years older than other such systems, which raises questions about its origins.

Dark dusty disk surrounds companion star, passing in front of a more distant red giant star (art)

Stellar Science

Astronomers Discover Giant Blinking Star

A red giant star thousands of light-years away "blinked," dimming significantly for seven long years, before returning to normal.

The quartet of stars that became a triple

Stellar Science

This Triplet of Stars Was Once a Quartet

Stellar mergers in quadruple systems might be common, a new study shows.

big, bright, bluish star surrounded by a disk and near a second big, bright bluish star

The Black Hole Files with Camille Carlisle

“Closest Black Hole” Doesn’t Exist, After All

Astronomers combined forces to confirm that a black hole proposed to lie a mere 1,000 light-years away isn’t really there.


Variable Stars

Take a Roller Coaster Ride with Algol, a Fast Eclipsing Binary

How would you like to see a star drop two magnitudes in the time it takes to eat dinner? Easy to do. Just check out one of these fast eclipsing binaries — they'll make your head spin.

Thuban in TESS image

Stellar Science

See Ancient “North Stars" Eclipse Each Other

The ancient pole star known as Thuban turns out to be an eclipsing binary. If you're up for a challenge, you can see the eclipses for yourself.

Kepler 47 (artist's concept)


Third Planet Found Orbiting Binary Star System Kepler 47

Astronomers have found a third planet circling a pair of stars in the Kepler 47 system.

Astronomy & Observing News

Low-key supernova marks possible birth of neutron star duo

A massive star lost most of its mass before exploding and creating a neutron star — and a second nearby neutron star might have been the thief.

contact binary star

Stellar Science

Typo Throws Off Timing for Expected Binary Star Merger

Revised data changed expectations for a star pair that was supposed to merge in 2022.

Two For T

Explore the Night with Bob King

Is T CrB About to Blow its Top?

The recurrent nova T Coronae Borealis last made a splash just after World War II. Does its current restive state hint at an imminent outburst?

Barnard 5 star-forming filaments

Stellar Science

Before They Were (Binary) Stars

Astronomers have taken a behind-the-scenes look at a set of dense gas clumps, catching a quadruple star system in the fleeting act of formation.

binary star

Explore Binary Stars on Your Computer

Additional information from the August 2012 article Solve Binary Stars Yourself. Provides links to various programs that allow users to explore binary stars up close and personal.

HM Cancri

Stellar Science

Fastest Known Binary Star

In the time it takes you to read this news story, the ultra-tightly paired stars known as HM Cancri will have completely spun around each other.

Astronomy Questions & Answers

How can binary stars orbit each other so fast?

In a News Note (S&T: November 2004, page 16) you described WR 20a, a binary star in Carina with components of 83 and 82 solar masses and an orbital period of 3.686 days. How can two huge balls of gas move so fast? Grab any introductory astronomy textbook and turn…

Astronomy & Observing News

New Binary Neutron Star Will Test Einstein

Astronomers have just found the closest ever pair of neutron stars — one of them a pulsar.