Astronomers think they have solved the mystery of how binary stars form.
They have discovered formerly unseen binary companions to a pair of beginning protostars. According to a press release that was released from the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, findings offer a major boost toward one of the conflicting theories for how the double star systems develop. Astronomers used the Very Large Array to make the discovery. About half of all stars which are similar to Earth’s Sun are a part of double or multiple star systems.
For many years now, astrophysicists have questioned how double or multiple star systems were formed.
The only way to solve such a debate is to watch very young star systems and catch them while they are forming. That is what the astronomy observatory has done with the stars they have seen, and they have received valuable new clues, explained John Tobin, who is a scientist for the National Radio Astronomy Observatory.
Tobin and his team published their finding in the Astrophysical Journal and wrote about how they had studied young stars with the VLA radio frequency, and had solved the mystery.
The new evidence they found seems to back up the theory in which double star systems mature when a disk of dust and gas spiraling around star remains, develop another new star in orbit with the first one. Young stars which are still in the process of gathering matter from their environment grow such rings, along with outflows that quickly send material into thin beams that are perpendicular to the ring.
When astronomers studied the young stars, which were covered in gas, that were about 1,000 light-years from the Earth, they found that two had formerly unseen companions located in the plane where their rings were expected to be. These were perpendicular to the path of the outflows from the systems.
These discoveries fit the hypothetical model of companions being formed from ring fragmentation. Such a configuration would not be needed if there were different explanations.
Such new findings, when combined with the previous data that was found, make ring and disk fragmentation the best explanation for how double and multiple star systems are created, stated Leslie Looney, who works at the NRAO and also at the University of Illinois.
There were numerous upgrades made to the VLA, which helped aid in the new discovery and make it possible. By having increased sensitivity of the VLA, which was created from an upgrade project which lasted over 10 years and was finally completed in 2012, this is what made the new discovery happen.
The team of astronomers, which were from the United States, the Netherlands and Mexico, used the highest frequency band that VLA had, which was from 40 to 50 GHz, in order to make their discovery. Scientists are able to use this frequency in order to look for dust in the disk and rings which surround young stars that are emitting radio waves.
This is how astronomers think they were able to solve the mystery of binary star formation
By Kimberly Ruble