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科学美国人60秒双语科学新闻太空篇:白矮双星的"合并"计划

Lily85 于2013-04-07发布 l 已有人浏览
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就像企业一样,星星也能进行"合并和收购":经研究确定一对白矮星正走向合并。
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Just like corporations, stars, too, can engage in mergers and acquisitions: a new study has identified a pair of white dwarf stars heading toward a merger.
就像企业一样,星星也能进行"合并和收购":经研究确定一对白矮星正走向合并。

White dwarfs are the hot, superdense remnants of spent stars. In a binary system called J0651, two white dwarfs circle each other very rapidly. The binary pairing completes an orbit in less than 13 minutes.
白矮星是一种高热度、高密度的晚期恒星。在这个编号 J0651 的双星系统内,有两颗恒星相互围绕飞快转动。这对双子星不到13分钟就能绕轨道转一周。

And that already rapid orbital dance is speeding up as the two white dwarfs spiral in on each other. Each year their orbital period shrinks by 0.3 milliseconds. That's actually a pretty dramatic change on astronomical timescales.
虽然运行速度非常之快,但两颗白矮星仍在加速,像螺旋一样彼此盘旋着。每年它们的轨道周期会缩短0.3毫秒。在天文时间表上这实际上是相当戏剧性的变化。

In about a million years, the white dwarfs will get so close that the larger one will start to cannibalize its smaller companion. Before long, the two stars will likely become one. The study appears in the Astrophysical Journal Letters.
大约100万年后,这对白矮星的距离会变得十分之近,因此较大的白矮星会开始蚕食较小的白矮星。再过不久这两颗星就很有可能变成一颗星。这项研究发表在《天体物理杂志通讯》上。

The tightly wound white dwarf binary should also be radiating gravitational waves—ripples in the fabric of space and time. But today's gravitational wave detectors are not sensitive enough to detect them. That's okay—astronomers have another million years, before things get really interesting, to build an instrument that's up to the task.
紧紧缠绕的白矮双子星同时也会发出引力波——那是在空间和时间结构上扩散开的波纹。但如今的重力探测器还不够敏感,不能探测到引力波。不过没关系,在事态开始引人关注前,科学家还有一百万年的时间来研发设备,完成此项任务。

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