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February 1, 2006

Two stars are shown just before mass transfer begins

Two stars having an initial mass ratio of q=0.69 are shown just before mass transfer begins. Here the blue surface identifies the critical volume that either star must fill before it becomes unstable to mass transfer. The "red" surface of the less massive star (on the left) just fills this critical volume.

More about this Image
A team lead by Joel Tohline, professor of astronomy at Louisiana State University, used computational fluid dynamics techniques to analyze how the structure of stars are altered by strong tidal forces in close binary star systems.

This research was supported by U.S. National Science Foundation grants AST 0407070 and PHY 0326311. Technical details about these simulations can be found at (Date of Image: July 2005)

Credit: Patrick Motl, Mario D'Souza, Joel E. Tohline and Juhan Frank; LSU

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