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How Binary Stars Form

How are binary stars made? To investigate, ESO's Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA), captured one of the highest resolution images yet taken. The image is of a binary star system in formation.

Most stars are not alone -- they typically form as part of a multiple star systems where star each orbits a common center of gravity. The two bright spots in the featured image are small disks that surround the forming proto-stars in [BHB2007] 11, while the surrounding pretzel-shaped filaments are gas and dust that have been gravitationally pulled from a larger disk. The circumstellar filaments span roughly the radius of the orbit of Neptune. The BHB2007 system is a small part of the Pipe Nebula (also known as Barnard 59), a photogenic network of dust and gas that protrudes from Milky Way's spiral disk in the constellation of Ophiuchus.

The binary star is said to be formed completely within a few million years.

It’s amazing how, from dust and gas, stars and planets and other heavenly bodies are formed. The universe indeed is a magnificent creation.

(Image Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), F. O. Alves et al.)


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