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Study Reveals Long-Sought Secret of the Stars (5 of 5)

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Caption: Temperature cross section in the orbital plane. Only temperatures between 4,000 K and 5,000 K are shown, corresponding roughly to the recombination temperature and hence roughly to the location of the photosphere. Note that between ~ 165 and 185 days, lines of sight from an observer looking along the orbital plane do not fully penetrate down to the innermost closed 4,500 K surface: this enlarged photosphere is the main cause of the a plateau phase. Near ~ 185 days, the shroud dissipates and the inner bound merger product would be revealed, corresponding to the decline stage after the plateau. This video relates to a paper that appeared in Jan. 25, 2013, issue of Science, published by AAAS. The paper, by N. Ivanova at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, AB, Canada, and colleagues was titled, "Identification of the Long-Sought Common-Envelope Events."

Credit: [Video courtesy of James C. Lombardi Jr. using SPLASH (Price 2007)]

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