Low-mass stars in binary stars appear to behave like high-mass, evolved stars

Astronomers Steve Howell of the University of California, Riverside and Thomas E. Harrison and Heather Osborne of New Mexico State University have found from their observations of over a dozen mass-losing stars in ‘cataclysmic variables’ that most of the secondary stars do not appear to be normal main sequence stars in terms of their apparent abundances. To various degrees, each star seems to have low to no carbon and other odd mixtures of elements such as sodium and calcium, the astronomers announced today at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Nashville, Tenn.

Students discover new class of star

Astronomy undergraduates have serendipitously discovered a new class of star that thrills astronomers who specialize in a relatively new field called “asteroseismology.” Astronomers worldwide will collaborate in continuous observations of one of these newly found stars for several weeks in May 2003. “Astronomers are always looking for new and better ways to study stars,” said Elizabeth Green, University of Arizona assistant staff astronomer at Steward Observatory, who with her students discovered the new class of stars. They have found sub-dwarf B stars that pulsate like Jell-O, quivering in space through cycles that typically last an hour.