25
Nov 10

Pulsating Star Mystery Solved

Source: ESO Science Release eso1046


Artist’s impression of the remarkable double star OGLE-LMC-CEP0227.
Image credit: ESO/L. Calçada

By discovering the first double star where a pulsating Cepheid variable and another star pass in front of one another, an international team of astronomers has solved a decades-old mystery. The rare alignment of the orbits of the two stars in the double star system has allowed a measurement of the Cepheid mass with unprecedented accuracy. Up to now astronomers had two incompatible theoretical predictions of Cepheid masses. The new result shows that the prediction from stellar pulsation theory is spot on, while the prediction from stellar evolution theory is at odds with the new observations. (read more)

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