The absolute astronomy highlight of the week is actually seeing the formation of a multiple-star system unveiling before our eyes. This definitely gave the science world a a revolutionary understanding regarding what happens before a star is born.
Capturing this exact phase of formation is particularly important because it is the one that determines the number of stars in that system. However it is usually hard to catch a glimpse of because of dust clouds and dense gas.
Researchers studied a dense core of gas, called Barnard 5, which is located in a young star-forming region of the constellation Perseus, 800 light-years from Earth.
The article was published in the latest issue of the Nature journal and it was led by a team of astronomers from England and United States. The research team was conducted by Jaime Pineda from the Institute for Astronomy at ETH Zurich. Observing the exact phase of the birth of a multiple star system offers some vital clues, like the frequency of planets, the formation of stars and planets and, most importantly, it offers valuable insight regarding habitability.
“Seeing such a multiple-star system in its early stages of formation has been a longstanding challenge, but the combination of the Very Large Array (VLA) and the Green Bank Telescope (GBT) has given us the first look at such a young system,”
said Jaime Pineda.
The authors were involved in mapping radio emissions coming from methane molecules in the proximity of a young proto-star when they detected some fragmenting filaments of gas that were condensing in order to form three new stars. But the universe takes its time, that’s foe sure, as these condensations are expected to gravitationally collapse and form stars as a consequence sometime during the next 40,000 years, which is a rather short period of time considering the astronomical standards.
Researchers are of the opinion that these stars in the system will eventually range between one-tenth and one-third the mass of our Sun. However the main question that rose came as a consequence regarded why our system has only with one star, while the nearest system, Alpha Centauri, has three.