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NASA Kepler Telescope Maps 19 ‘Heartbeat’ Stars in a Single Study – Nature World News

Matters of the heart can be puzzling and mysterious — so too with unusual astronomical objects called heartbeat stars. Heartbeat stars, discovered in large numbers by NASA’s Kepler space telescope, are binary stars (systems of two stars orbiting each other) that got their name because if you were to map out their brightness over time, the result would look like an electrocardiogram, a graph of the electrical activity of the heart. Scientists are interested in them because they are binary systems in elongated elliptical orbits. This makes them natural laboratories for studying the gravitational effects of stars on each other.

NASA Kepler Telescope Maps 19 ‘Heartbeat’ Stars in a Single Study – Nature World News