early universe, star formation

Earliest Stars Might Have Formed in Pairs, Just Like Star Twins of Modern Universe

July 15, 2009 07:00 PM
by Haley A. Lovett
Rather than forming massive stars as was previously thought, early matter may have formed star pairs. Today, binary star systems are ripe hunting ground for planets.

Twin Star Formation Could Explain Lack of Early Star Evidence

The new study, which can be read in the July 9 issue of Science, attempted to recreate early universe conditions to learn how stars formed. Scientists found that in some cases masses of matter split apart and formed two stars, rather than one giant star. 

According to New Scientist, under the old single-star theory, many of the giant stars would have collapsed due to their mass, and eventually created enormous explosions. However, scientists had not discovered evidence of these super explosions. The new theory about twin star formation could explain the lack of evidence of giant explosions, as the twin systems would have been less susceptible to exploding.

Binary star systems (as the two-star systems are called), are not uncommon in the universe, and there are even cases of three-star systems. A 2007 study found that debris disks, which can be the building blocks of a planetary system or the remains of one, are just as commonly found in binary star systems as in singular star systems. It also seems that the closer together the two stars, the more likely it is that astronomers will find a planet orbiting around them.

The James Webb Telescope, set to launch in 2014, will be able to look more closely at the traces of the early universe and may shed light on, or disprove, some of the theories about early star formation.

The Earth’s sun is thought to have formed at the same time as other stars, and scientists have long searched for our own “solar twin.”

Next: Solar Twins: Separating Look-Alikes From the Sun’s True Siblings

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