Thursday, 7 May 2015

Conflicts In A Cluster

Poul Anderson, Starfarers (New York, 1999).

In some passages, Anderson's text is so condensed that I must reread carefully to extract and retain the full meaning.

"'...there's a recurrent nova just a few light-years from the star we're interested in.'

"'Won't it have harmed life on its planets?'" (p. 99)

This means: won't the nova have harmed life on the planets of the star we're interested in?

"'The companion is only middle type M.'" (ibid.)

This means that the recurrent nova has a red dwarf companion. Captain Nansen, told this, imagines the binary and the reason for the recurrent nova although he does not seem to have been given much information about it:

two stars orbit each other, the dwarf and a giant that had gone nova, then collapsed into a neutron star;

the small but massive neutron star continually pulls a river of hydrogen from its companion;

the hydrogen, condensed and heated, periodically explodes into another nova;

the dwarf will "...dwindle to a fragment..." (p. 100) while the neutron star grows until it becomes a supernova of Type I, then a black hole.

It was worthwhile to reread and check out all that.

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