W UMa Binary (Contact Phase)
UMa (W Ursae Majoris) is the prototype of a class of interacting binary stars in which each member
reaches out to touch the other. The stars are so close to one another that the gravity of each
visibly distorts the other into a balloon shape. This kind of system is also known as a contact
binary. The two stars are typically of spectral classes F, G or K, so I have given them yellow and
orange colours. This version of the image shows the stars before their atmospheres have merged, so
they still have different colours.