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Gigantic Star Battered by Waves Larger Than Our Sun’s

An artist’s interpretation of the binary star system MACHO 80.7443.1718, with massive waves surging on the larger star

Melissa Weiss/Center for Astrophysics/Harvard & Smithsonian

Giant waves, more than three times the size of our sun, are pummeling a massive star located far away.

This particular star is part of a binary system, meaning it orbits another star in a highly elliptical path. When these two stars come close to each other, their gravitational forces create tidal waves, similar to how the moon generates tides on Earth. As a result, the stars stretch out and bulge at their equators, making them appear brighter temporarily. …

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