Astronomers have discovered two red dwarf stars orbiting one another in a record breaking 2.5 hours.
While binary star systems are quite common in our galaxy, it was thought that a binary system with an orbit of under 5 hours was impossible because at such a short distance the two stars would merge together to form a single large star. Astronomers were therefore surprised to discover a binary system in which the stars were so close together that they're orbital period was only 2.5 hours.
"To our complete surprise, we found several red dwarf binaries with orbital periods significantly shorter than the 5 hour cut-off found for Sun-like stars, something previously thought to be impossible," said astronomer Bas Nefs. "It means that we have to rethink how these close-in binaries form and evolve."
"About half of the stars in our Milky Way galaxy are, unlike our Sun, part of a binary system in which two stars orbit each other."
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