The Relationships of Binary StarsDecember 6, 2012 / Posted by: Aaron Gronstal
New NAI-supported research published the journal Nature is helping astrobiologists understand the formation of binary stars that orbit each other at distances of up to a light-year. The formation of these 'very wide binaries’ has been a mystery because the stars can be further apart than the size of the collapsing clouds from which they form. Using computer simulations, the research team led by Bo Reipurth of the University of Hawaii and Seppo Mikkola of the University of Turku in Finland, has uncovered a mechanism for how wide binaries are created.
When two stars form in the tight confines of a cloud core, their gravitational pull on one another becomes a 'chaotic dance.’ Ultimately, the lighter of the two young stars is tossed to the outer edge of the cloud core for long periods of time before falling back toward the center. Eventually, as the stars inside the cloud core grow larger and larger, the smaller star can be thrown into a wide orbit, or even ejected from the system entirely. Studying the formation of such systems is important for astrobiologists who are trying to determine the diversity of stellar environments that exist beyond our solar system and the potential for habitable worlds around stars other than our sun.
Source: [University of Hawaii]
- The Martian Astrobiologist
- The 2015 Astrobiology Strategy Identifies Priority Research for the NASA Astrobiology Program in the Next Decade
- A Memorial to Honor Our Astrobiologists
- NASA Astrobiology Debates Online Competition
- Disparity in the Tentacles of Moon Jellyfish
- My Martian Moment: David Blake Presents CheMin
- Planets, Life, and the Universe Lecture Series
- Diversity of Life on Pumice Islands
- NASA Confirms Evidence That Liquid Water Flows on Today’s Mars
- Autonomous Analysis in the Atacama