Scientists Just Made A Big Discovery About Black Holes

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  Scientists Just Made A Big Discovery About Black Holes

In the study, which was recently published in “Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society,” the team behind the latest discovery notes that the Giraffe and Unicorn star systems offer a glimpse into a rare phase of binary star evolution that eventually gives birth to a compact binary containing two helium white dwarfs. Based on the data available, the team notes that the giants in each system underwent the CNO cycle (or the carbon-nitrogen-oxygen cycle), the sequence of thermonuclear reactions that acts as the source of energy radiated by hotter stars. 

Eventually, the two giants in the Unicorn and Giraffe star systems started having their envelopes stripped. The datasets also suggest that both the stars in each system had equal mass — or, maybe, the sub-giant companion was inflated temporarily due to quick accretion. In the Giraffe system, the companion star circles the red giant on an 81-day circular orbit, while the Unicorn follows a 60-day orbit.

The team proposes that the stars in Unicorn and Giraffe are currently in a phase of mass transfer that involves their atmosphere being stripped away. Given the current rate and nature of mass transfer, the sub-giants will eventually evolve into helium white dwarfs, but there is also a small possibility that it turns into a sdOB star, which is a type of helium-rich, low-mass hot star.

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