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It Takes Two to Tango: Eclipsing White Dwarfs Push General Relativity to its Limit

31 Jan 2020, 18:16 UTC
It Takes Two to Tango: Eclipsing White Dwarfs Push General Relativity to its Limit
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Title: General Relativistic Orbital Decay in a Seven-Minute-Orbital-Period Eclipsing Binary System Authors: Kevin B. Burdge, Michael W. Coughlin, Jim Fuller, Thomas Kupfer, Eric C. Bellm, Lars Bildsten, Matthew J. Graham, David L. Kaplan, Jan van Roestel, Richard G. Dekany, Dmitry A. Duev, Michael Feeney, Matteo Giomi, George Helou, Stephen Kaye, Russ R. Laher, Ashish A. Mahabal, Frank J. Masci, Reed Riddle, David L. Shupe, Maayane T. Soumagnac, Roger M. Smith, Paula Szkody, Richard Walters, S. R. Kulkarni, Thomas A. PrinceFirst author’s institution: Division of Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy, California Institute of TechnologyJournal: Accepted to Nature Letters (closed access). Open access on ArXiv.
The Extremes of Binary Stars50% of all stars form with a friend. However, within the multitude of stellar relationships in the universe, eclipsing white dwarf binaries are one of the most intensely dynamic (Figure 1). Each star in this configuration is the remnant of a sun-like star that has violently shed its outer hydrogen/helium layers to leave behind a compact stellar core. The white dwarf star that is created is approximately the mass of our sun, yet squeezed down to the size of Earth in diameter! Fascinating in their singularity, these stellar structures, when orbiting each other ...

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