(ORDO NEWS) — An international team of researchers has made near-infrared observations of the polarized light of three star systems with double disks.
In their study, published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, the researchers used photographs from the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) to take a fresh look at spirals that can form when dust interacts in the disks of binary star systems.
Previous studies have suggested that star formation begins when gravity causes clouds of dust and gas to collapse into a central formation.
As stars form, they are surrounded by a halo of matter, which can lead to the creation of planets. Such halos are known as discs.
Previous research has also suggested that if two stars emerge from the same cloud of gas and dust, and if they are close enough to each other, their disks may interact.
And sometimes, as a result of this interaction, spiral formations are formed. In this new work, the researchers created images of three such spiral formations.
The researchers analyzed images from the VLT, which captured polarized light from three star systems. By analyzing polarized light from each of the star systems, the scientists were able to create images showing their spirals.
The researchers note that in addition to creating beautiful images, their work is part of an overall effort to study how planets form in systems where spirals are formed due to interactions with companion stars.
They also note that such interactions are far from uniform – some stars orbit each other, while others only make flybys.
These are expected to affect the planetary disks and therefore the planets that will eventually form in different ways.
The team notes that their work and previous research suggests that flybys may play a larger role in planet formation than previously thought.
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