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Single, Single, Little Star January 7, 2012

Posted by Onely in Look What Google Barfed Up, Onely B*tchslaps Mother Nature.
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Welcome to the latest installment in our series, Onely B*tchslaps Mother Nature, where we rage against mistreatment of singles–whether animals, plants, or extraterrestrials.

Onely’s long-time mission is to fight discrimination against singles. But lately we’re considering abandoning our quest. Why bother, when the very fabric of the universe is stacked against us?

Today we’re examining the super-fast “runaway” stars that streak through the Milky Way. Scientists originally thought that the stars used to be one of a pair of stars. A runaway star, they reasoned, was “fleeing a partner that exploded in a supernova,” according to  an article in New Scientist magazine (26 November 2011, p.17).

I liked this theory. The runaways had left their volatile, oppressive partner stars, preferring to zip around the galaxy as single stars. Or I guess you could say maybe the runaways had been dumped–it all depends on how you interpret, And so, then my significant other exploded in a supernova. . .

Either way, I was like “Go Single Star Power! Rah rah!” But then New Scientist burst my bubble. It turns out that runaway stars are actually victims of couplemania, or the privileging of the couple unit. Researchers have recently learned that the runaway stars are not halves of broken-up pairs at all. They are actually single stars that tried to hang out in orbit with a committed star couple. They gained their burst of speed when they were

booted out because the trio was gravitationally unstable.

Well you know the old saying, Two’s company, three’s gravitationally unstable. Or as New Scientist puts it,

Single stars that try to come between a stellar pair are flung away at breakneck speeds

Even though the star was just trying to be friendly. And that’s why Onely is giving Mother Nature a B*tchslap this week.

–Christina

Photo credit: Jem Yoshioka

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Comments»

1. Solitary Diner - January 7, 2012

Love this! Too funny.

2. tessa - January 7, 2012

Here is my alternative onely interpretation: the couple stars are not booting out the single stars, they are freeing them from the boring stodginess of coupledom. “Oh super sparkly mega-talented single star, you don’t want to be stuck with us, going round and round in circles for the rest of your life,” they say. “Be free and go and explore the universe!” And thus, alleviated from the burdens of gravity, the lucky single stars zoom off into space.

Onely - January 8, 2012

Of course! Now that you say it, it seems so obvious! 🙂

3. Dating & Pen Pals Blog - January 23, 2012

It’s funny, isn’t it, how we interpret most things in terms of our own lives.

4. Natasha - January 28, 2012

What a brilliant bit of writing – I loved reading that. You’ve totally made my day, thank you!

Onely - February 2, 2012

Thanks Natasha, your enthusiasm is great for our writer egos here at Onely. We will use it as fuel to keep up our writing momentum, which sometimes lags due to the existence of, um, Netflix.
= )
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5. Katie Martin - April 2, 2012

That is so interesting! I had no idea about star coupling at all. That poor single star just trying to make new friends; it’s so sad that it just gets flung away. And I love that you then gave Mother Nature a b*tchslap- so funny! How did you originally hear about the “runaway stars”? On the radio, NPR, randomly in a book?
Also, I just love your overall mission since I am a long time single person. I have often wondered why being single is such a “strange existence” to so many people. I hope being single doesn’t always make me feel like an outsider.

Onely - April 2, 2012

Thanks for your support, Katie! I heard about the poor single stars in New Scientist magazine. It’s sort of a UK version of Discover magazine, but way better. I can’t recommend NS enough, though it *is* pretty expensive because it’s bi-monthly. = )
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