220th AAS conference. It was a blast, but did not lend itself to blogging...
By way of an apology, here is a (gratuitous) animation of a binary star system orbiting that I created for my research using the PHOEBE software package. The animation was created by stitching 10ish frames (generated in IDL) together in gifsicle, which is kind of an old-school way of doing this. This visualizes two stars orbiting each other in a "semi-detached" configuration.
The smaller star is about 70% the mass of the bigger one. They are both distorted, with a characteristic tear-dropped shape, due to the tidal gravitational force between them. We will be discussing many such systems at the forth-coming "Al-Fest" workshop at UW next month.
This was a simple test case animation I made, and is not the final configuration for the short period binary I recently presented at the conference. (The paper
Nothing else too fancy to say about it. I think it's quite mesmerizing, and utterly fascinating to consider that two stars can be orbiting each other so quickly and closely. In the case of my short period object, composed of two M dwarfs, they go through a full orbit once every ~4 hours!
Like with my previous Plots as Art post(s), sometimes the research visualizations are just too fun not to share.