Most stars form binary systems, in which two stars revolve around a common center. The models of planet formation, by isolated stars, suggest that planets are born by the slow aggregation of ice and dust particles in the protoplanetary disks around the forming stars.
But it is still unknown how planets are born around double stars, in which the gravitational interaction between the two plays an essential role. But now new research sheds light on this matter.
Using the Very Large Array (VLA, in the USA) and the Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array (ALMA, in Chile) radio astronomical observatories, an international group of astronomers led by the Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia (IAA-CSIC) has studied the binary star SVS 13, still in its embryonic stage, and has provided the best description yet available of binary system information.
“Our results reveal that each star has a disk of gas and dust around it and that, in addition, a larger disk is forming around both,” says Ana Karla Díaz-Rodríguez, a researcher at the IAA and the ALMA regional center in the University of Manchester (UK) leading the work.
This disk shows a spiral structure that is feeding matter to the individual disks, and each of them could form planetary systems in the future.