Freitag, 8. März 2024 · 20:00 · English lecture

The Dance of Binary Stars – About ‚vampire stars’, binary black holes, and being squeezed by gravitational waves

The Dance of Binary Stars –  About ‚vampire stars’, binary black holes, and being squeezed by gravitational waves

Lecture by Prof. Dr. Selma E. de Mink (Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics) – in English

Friday, 8 March 2024, 8 p.m.

When seeing stars in the night sky over Munich on a clear evening, you may be able to pick out some of the constellations. Those with sharp eyes may even notice the stars have subtly different colors, such as the red supergiant star Betelgeuse that makes the shoulder of the Orion constellation. Some can even be seen to be double, such as Mizar and Algol in the big dipper (großer Wagen) that forms a multiple-star system.

In this talk, I would like to share some of the latest advances in our understanding of stars and binary systems. What does a star like Betelgeuse look like if you were close? – I will show movies from our latest computer simulations of the boiling surface. What is a binary system? – I will explain why astronomers now think that almost no star is alone. How are the lives of binary stars different? – I will show what a so-called vampire system is, where one star becomes younger by ‘eating’ the outer layers of its companion. What are gravitational waves and what does that have to do with binary stars? – Come to my talk and I hope to give you a taste of all these exciting new insights.

The talk will be in English, but the speaker will be happy to take any questions in German.


Online ticket booking

Advance booking recommended due to the limited number of seats.

Tickets € 8/ 5

Admission from 7:45 p.m.

If the skies are clear, guests are invited to visit our rooftop observatory after the talk and enjoy the views with our telescopes.