We know there’s some weird and rare stellar denizens in the cosmic jungle, galaxies hollowe dinto rungs like giant Ferris Wheels, dark matter pockets, pocean planets and diamond worlds. But it turns out one species of misfit may be way more common than thought. Cannibal stars, sometimes referred to as vampires, that suck the life blood out of their neighbors for a flush of youthful glory and may shape the evolution of future stars and planets:
Space.com — For the new study, the astronomers analyzed the light coming from 71 O-type stars — a mix of single and binary stars — in six different star clusters, all located roughly 6,000 light-years away.
The researchers found that almost three-quarters of these stars have close companions. Most of these pairs are also close enough to interact with one another, with mass being transferred from one star to the other in a sort of stellar vampirism. About one-third of these binary systems are even expected to eventually merge to form a single star, the researchers said.
The results of the study indicate that massive stars with companions are more common than was once thought, and that these heavyweights in binary systems evolve differently than single stars — a fact that has implications for how scientists understand galaxy evolution.