Monday, October 12, 2009

Red Giant, White Dwarf

This picture attempts to show a binary star in which one partner is a red giant and the other a white dwarf. Both of these stars are almost used up, by star standards. The white dwarf is pulling matter off the surface of the red giant and this makes a gas disk around the two of them, here seen edge on. According to astrophysics, this type of star pair is unstable and eventually can emit nova blasts when some of the star material collapses. Or the whole system could blow up real good in a supernova. You wouldn't want to be on any planet orbiting this system, though this image was inspired by a fantasy author's (Jo Clayton) world where such a planet existed.
Airbrushed acrylic on illustration board, 10" x 7", February-March 1986.


Mike said...

I love this stuff. Both the image, and the astronomy behind it.

Tristan Alexander said...

Nice. I love how the white star look sin this. I did read the title to fast at first though and thought it said Giant White Dwarf! lol