Exciting change is on the way! Please join us at nsf.gov for the latest news on NSF-funded research. While the NSF Science360 page and daily newsletter have now been retired, there’s much happening at nsf.gov. You’ll find current research news on the homepage and much more to explore throughout the site. Best of all, we’ve begun to build a brand-new website that will bring together news, social media, multimedia and more in a way that offers visitors a rich, rewarding, user-friendly experience.

Want to continue to receive email updates on the latest NSF research news and multimedia content? On September 23rd we’ll begin sending those updates via GovDelivery. If you’d prefer not to receive them, please unsubscribe now from Science360 News and your email address will not be moved into the new system.

Thanks so much for being part of the NSF Science360 News Service community. We hope you’ll stay with us during this transition so that we can continue to share the many ways NSF-funded research is advancing knowledge that transforms our future.

For additional information, please contact us at NewsTravels@nsf.gov

Top Story

Astrophysicist predicts white dwarfs to merge

An astrophysicist and his team have discovered two detached, eclipsing double white dwarf binaries with orbital periods of 40 and 46 minutes, respectively. White dwarfs are the remnants of sun-like stars, many of which are found in pairs, or binaries. However, only a handful of white dwarf binaries are known with orbital periods less than one hour in the Milky Way--a galaxy made up of 200 billion stars. The team discovered the two white dwarf binaries using the MMT 6.5-meter telescope, a joint facility of the Smithsonian Institution and the University of Arizona. Observations at the Apache Point Observatory 3.5-meter telescope revealed that one of the binaries is eclipsing. It's only the seventh known eclipsing white dwarf binary. What occurs when the white dwarfs make contact continues to be a mystery. One possibility is an explosion--a phenomenon known as a supernova. The astrophysicist from this study predicts these two stars will come together and create an “exotic star” known as R Coronae Borealis.

Visit Website | Image credit: David Aguilar