Choose your language:

Artist's impression of the evolution of a hot high-mass binary star

Loading player...

This artist's impression shows how hot, brilliant and high-mass stars evolve. New work using ESO telescopes has shown that most such stars are in pairs. These stars are up to one million times brighter than the Sun, and evolve about one thousand times more quickly. As the stars evolve they expand slowly. The more massive brighter star expands first, until the outer layers start to strongly feel the gravitational pull of the companion, deforming the star into a teardrop shape. The companion then starts to suck material from the primary star. When the primary has been stripped from its entire hydrogen rich envelope it shrinks. At this point the secondary star is now rotating very fast and has an oblate shape. The hot compact star continues to fuse heavier and heavier elements in its centre until it explodes as a supernova. During the explosion a neutron star is born which probably escapes. The secondary is left behind alone. It swells up and becomes a red supergiant with a radius a few times larger than the orbit of the Earth around the Sun. Eventually the second star also explodes as a supernova.

Note: this video is based on simulations but is not intended to be quantitatively accurate in detail.

Credit:

ESO/L. Calçada/M. Kornmesser/S.E. de Mink

Bookmark and Share

About the Video

Id:eso1230a
Release date:26 July 2012, 20:00
Related releases:eso1230
Duration:01m 42s

About the Object

Type:• Milky Way : Star : Evolutionary Stage : Supernova
• Milky Way : Star : Evolutionary Stage : Neutron Star
• Milky Way : Star : Spectral Type : O
• Milky Way : Star : Grouping : Binary
• X - Stars

Large

Large QT
6.3 MB

Medium

Video Podcast
9.0 MB
Medium MPEG-1
40.7 MB
Medium Flash
7.6 MB

Small

Small Flash
3.5 MB
Small QT
2.3 MB

For Broadcasters

Broadcast SD
520.8 MB

Also see our