Rare binary stars help astronomers measure our place in the universe

We know that the Milky Way is surrounded by an array of satellite galaxies, the largest of which is the rather aptly named Large Magellanic Cloud. But figuring out exactly how far away our cosmic neighbor is has proved fiendishly difficult. » 3/10/13 9:00am 3/10/13 9:00am

Why you really don't want to live in a wide binary solar system

There's an old fringe theory that the Sun isn't our system's only star, that a red dwarf star named Nemesis is hiding out in the Oort Cloud. We've never found any evidence for it or any other secret companion star, and if this simulation is any indication, that's very good news for the gas giants. » 1/06/13 4:00pm 1/06/13 4:00pm

Two more Tattooine-like planets discovered orbiting double suns

Back in September, NASA's planet-hunting satellite Kepler made one of its most dramatic discoveries when it spotted a planet orbiting two stars. But was this a one-of-a-kind cosmic freak, or are there lots of these strange planets? Now we know. » 1/11/12 11:30am 1/11/12 11:30am

This nebula might be home to the universe's hottest star

This is AB7, a binary star system found in one of the nearby Magellanic Cloud galaxies. The two stars are constantly venting massive amounts of stellar material. That process is heating up one of the stars to absolutely unimaginable temperatures. » 1/02/12 10:30am 1/02/12 10:30am

Blue straggler stars are eternally young mysteries

Stars known as blue stragglers have pretty much discovered the cosmic equivalent of the fountain of youth - they should be old and nearly out of fuel, yet they continue to burn hot and bright blue like a young star. » 10/24/11 4:30pm 10/24/11 4:30pm

The short guide to our nearest cosmic neighbors

Located just 4.3 light-years away, the Alpha Centauri star system is our closest neighbor. But theirs is a very different solar system, as it's home with not one, not two, but three stars. Here's the short guide to Alpha Centauri. » 7/03/11 12:15pm 7/03/11 12:15pm

Retrograde world could mean there are tons of planets around binary…

Astronomers believed that binary star systems were too volatile to support many planets, because the overlapping gravitational forces of the two stars would pull most planets apart. But one exoplanet 69 light-years away survives just fine...by orbiting the wrong way. » 10/05/10 7:30am 10/05/10 7:30am