Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .




EXO WORLDS
Twin Stars Form Solar System
by Staff Writers
Moffett Field CA (SPX) Jul 09, 2009


Artist's photo concept of a sunset on a planet in a binary star system. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Two University of Hawai'i at Manoa astronomers have found a binary star-disk system in which each star is surrounded by the kind of dust disk that is frequently the precursor of a planetary system. Doctoral student Rita Mann and Dr. Jonathan Williams used the Submillimeter Array on Mauna Kea, Hawaii to make the observations.

A binary star system consists of two stars bound together by gravity that orbit a common center of gravity. Most stars form as binaries, and if both stars are hospitable to planet formation, it increases the likelihood that scientists will discover Earth-like planets.

This binary system, 253-1536, stands out as the first known example of two optically visible stars, each surrounded by a disk with enough mass to form a planetary system like our own.

It lies 1,300 light-years from Earth, in the famous Orion Nebula, the kind of rich cluster of stars that is a common birth environment for most stars in our Milky Way galaxy, including our sun.

One of the disks was discovered in an image taken with the Hubble Space Telescope, but the other disk was hidden in the glare of the star. Hubble saw only the disk shadow, so the amount of material and its capability for planet formation was unknown until the UH team made the SMA observations.

"The SMA was able to image the binary system at almost the same level of detail as the Hubble Space Telescope, but in the extreme infrared, where we can see the glow from the dust, rather than its shadow," explained Mann.

The two stars are 400 times farther from each other than Earth is from the sun. They would take 4,500 years, or about the length of human recorded history, to complete one orbit around their common center. Both stars are only about a third the mass of our sun and are much cooler and redder in color.

Viewed from a potential future planet, the stellar neighbor would appear as an intense point in the night sky, about one thousand times brighter than the brightest star in our night sky, Sirius. Planets around the other star would be visible only through telescopes, but they would be within reach of spacecraft from a civilization with the same level of technology as ours.

The larger disk in 253-1536 is also the most massive found in the Orion Nebula so far. The discovery of this massive disk and the binary disk system improve our understanding of how common planet formation is in our galaxy and place our solar system in context.

.


Related Links
University of Hawai'i at Manoa
Lands Beyond Beyond - extra solar planets - news and science
Life Beyond Earth






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





EXO WORLDS
STScI Joins The Search For Other Earths In Space
Baltimore MD (SPX) Jun 26, 2009
The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Md., is partnering on a historic search for Earth-size planets around other stars. STScI is the data archive center for NASA's Kepler mission, a spacecraft that is undertaking a survey for Earth-size planets in our region of the galaxy. The spacecraft sent its first raw science data to STScI on June 19. The Institute was the logic ... read more


EXO WORLDS
Space Foundation Publishes Apollo 11 Recollections

40 years on, Paris shows 'A Man On the Moon'

Seeking Synergy To Return To The Moon

Forty years ago man first walked on the moon

EXO WORLDS
NASA: Spirit still stuck in martian sand

Ice Shouldn't Stop Dune Movement On Mars Or Earth

NASA works on Spirit's extraction

NASA Phoenix Results Point To Martian Climate Cycles

EXO WORLDS
Roundworms Could Pioneer Space For Human Astronauts

China to send first woman into space: state media

Astronaut Safety Gets Max Attention

Europe launches study into manned spacecraft scheme

EXO WORLDS
China to launch Mars space probe

China To Launch First Mars Probe In Second Half Of 2009

China Launches Yaogan VI Remote-Sensing Satellite

China Able To Send Man To Moon Around 2020

EXO WORLDS
ISS Appearing Nationwide Over July 4 Weekend

Cargo Ship To Undock From ISS, Serve As Technical Platform

Space Station Room With A View

Progress To Undock From ISS June 30

EXO WORLDS
Brazil Plans To Expand Rocket Launching Base At North

Russia launches US radio satellite: report

Largest-Ever Telecommunications Satellite Launched

ILS Proton Launches SIRIUS FM-5 Satellite

EXO WORLDS
Twin Stars Form Solar System

STScI Joins The Search For Other Earths In Space

Five 'Holy Grails' Of Distant Solar Systems

Planet-Forming Disk Orbiting Twin Suns Revealed

EXO WORLDS
More Trash Talk

Orbital To Build New Space Science Satellite To Study X-Ray Polarization

Satellite Successfully Performs Post-Launch Maneuvers

LockMart Awarded Concept Development Contract For USAF Space Fence




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement