Two stars caught fusing into one

Astronomers observe a merger for the first time

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.

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