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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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