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Two stars caught fusing into one

Astronomers observe a merger for the first time

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1:10pm, March 18, 2011

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For stellar astronomers, “the two shall become one flesh” just took on a whole new meaning.

Scientists have directly observed for the first time the merger of two closely orbiting stars. Experts have suggested for decades that such stars — which whirl so close to each other that their outer layers actually touch — should ultimately commingle. The new work, by Romuald Tylenda of the Nicolaus Copernicus Astronomical Center in Toruń, Poland and collaborators, catches the stars in the act.

The researchers’ claim of catching the stars in the act is “not just plausible; it's compelling,” says Robert W

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