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Top Story

Young stellar system caught in act of forming close multiple-star system

For the first time, astronomers have seen a dusty disk of material around a young star fragmenting into a multiple-star system. Scientists had suspected such a process, caused by gravitational instability, was at work, but new observations with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) and the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) revealed the process in action. According to the researchers, this new work directly supports the conclusion that there are two mechanisms that produce multiple star systems--fragmentation of circumstellar disks, such as we see here, and fragmentation of the larger cloud of gas and dust from which young stars are formed.

Visit Website | Image credit: Bill Saxton, ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), NRAO/AUI/NSF