Space news (March 10, 2015) – around 2,000 light-years away in dark cloud LDN 981 –
This NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image shows dust surrounding T Tauri star V1331 Cyg spiraling outward driven by a jet emanating from the young star astronomers think.
This image is unique because it gives us a view of a main sequence star similar to our own sun in the process of being formed and of one of the poles of the young star. Astronomers think we’re looking down the path of a jet emanating from a pole of the young star that cleared star dust from the path giving us this inspiring view.
Called a reflection nebula, the dusty shape here resembles a snail or beating wing, and is part of the process of the birth of a young star and possible solar system astronomers believe. Astronomers are currently looking at the data and images for features suggesting the formation of a low-mass object in the outer circumstellar disk.
Read about something interesting astronomers discovered about red dwarf stars
Four percent of star systems seen during human journey to the beginning of space and time contain four stars
Space news (March 09, 2015) – 136 light-years away in the constellation Aries –
Astronomers operating instruments fitted to the Palomar Observatory in San Diego recently discovered the second exoplanet found existing in a quadruple star system. The first such exo-planet, KIC 4862625, was found in 2013 by citizen researchers using data obtained using the Kepler Space Telescope. This latest discovery indicates to many scientists and interested citizens that it’s more common for planets to exist in multiple star systems than first thought.
“About four percent of solar-type stars are in quadruple systems, which is up from previous estimates because observational techniques are steadily improving,” said co-author Andrei Tokovinin of the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile.
Called 30 Ari, this newly discovered quadruple star system is just 136 light-years away in the constellation Aries. The exo-planet is huge at over ten times the mass of Jupiter and orbits the parent star in an interesting 335 days. Could life exist on such a planet? Astronomers and space scientists think this is unlikely, but what do they know for certain?
The planet only orbits the primary star, not the second star which is relatively close to the first star at 23 astronomical units. The third and fourth stars are locked in a gravitational battle with this pair of stars at a distance of 1,670 A.U. from the primary star.
What would the view be like from the surface of this exoplanet? The first pair of the four stars would appear as a single small sun in the sky, along with two exceedingly bright stars visible during the day. Life existing on this planet would be one tough customer.
The image below is an artists conception of the 30 Ari star system.
This planet could have brothers and sisters orbiting one of the stars within the system and even moons itself. Life could exist on one of these worlds. But we best leave these thoughts and ideas for the science fiction books.
We have discovered star systems with as many as four suns during the human journey to the beginning of space and time. So far, about four percent of systems viewed have at least four stars, and we have just started the journey. What will we discover next?
What’s next for astronomers and planetary scientists? A detailed study of multiple star systems, including 30 Ari, and their family dynamics. This should also hopefully tell us more about other possible exoplanets and moons in the 30 Ari star system.
Astronomers also want to take a look at why the second star, which in fact was only recently discovered, doesn’t seem to have changed the orbit of the exoplanet discovered. This does seem rather odd? We’ll have to wait and see what they discover.