Young, Newly Formed Dl Cha Star System Gives Astronomers View of Star Formation Processes at Work

Two stars shine brightly through a ring of swirling dust and gas

Two stars shine through the centre of a ring of cascading dust in this image taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. The star system is named DI Cha, and while only two stars are apparent, it is actually a quadruple system containing two sets of binary stars. As this is a relatively young star system it is surrounded by dust. The young stars are moulding the dust into a wispy wrap. The host of this alluring interaction between dust and star is the Chamaeleon I dark cloud — one of three such clouds that comprise a large star-forming region known as the Chamaeleon Complex. DI Cha's juvenility is not remarkable within this region. In fact, the entire system is among not only the youngest but also the closest collections of newly formed stars to be found and so provides an ideal target for studies of star formation.
Two stars shine through the centre of a ring of cascading dust in this image taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.

Space news (November 04, 2015) – approximately 160 parsecs from Earth in the Chamaeleon I Dark Cloud –

Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope recently viewed one of the youngest and closest star systems found during the human journey to the beginning of space and time. Star system Dl Cha is a young quadruple system of suns deep within the Chamaeleon Complex, a mysterious region of space comprised of three clouds of gas and dust. Composed of two binary star systems, Dl Cha is one of the best young systems to study to learn more about star formation because of its youth and nearness to Sol.

A photogenic group of nebulae can be found toward Chamaeleon, a constellation visible predominantly in skies south of the Earth's equator. Celestial objects visible there include the blue reflection nebulas highlighted by thin dust surrounding the bright stars in the above image center. Toward the top and lower right, dark molecular clouds laced with thick dust block light from stars in the background. The parent molecular cloud Chamaeleon I is located about 450 light years from Earth.
A photogenic group of nebulae can be found toward Chamaeleon, a constellation visible predominantly in skies south of the Earth’s equator.

Dl Cha is located in Chamaeleon I Dark Cloud, one of the closest star-forming regions to Earth, with as many as 200-300 young suns. Newly-formed suns that mold the dust and gas in the surrounding region into a spiraling wrap enveloping Dl Cha in a light-absorbing shroud. A shroud of gas and dust scientists are peering through using the latest ground and space telescopes to learn more about the processes the cosmos uses to create new stars. 

The Chamaeleon I Dark Cloud contains 70-90 mysterious X-ray sources, including Cha Halpha, the first X-ray emitting brown dwarf ever located. As the gas and dust swirls and moves in this region of space, more young stars will be viewed, and the veil surrounding the mystery of these X-ray sources and star formation lifted. A veil lifting astronomers expect to reveal more cosmic mysteries as the human journey to the beginning of space and time unfolds. 

You can learn more about star formation in the cosmos here.

Discover NASA’s mission to the stars here.

Take the journey of the Hubble Space Telescope here.

Learn more about the Chamaeleon Complex and the Chamaeleon I Dark Cloud here.

Read about the Twin Jet Nebula, a truly stunning celestial object with the wings of a butterfly.

Learn about the discoveries made of Pluto and its moons by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft.

Learn more about main sequence stars like our own Sun.

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Planets Existing in Quadruple Star Systems More Common Than First Thought

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 artist's conception shows the 30 Ari system, which includes four stars and a planet. The planet, a gas giant, orbits its primary star (yellow) in about a year's time. The primary star, called 30 Ari B, has a companion -- the small
This artist’s conception shows the 30 Ari system, which includes four stars and a planet. The planet, a gas giant, orbits its primary star (yellow) in about a year’s time. The primary star, called 30 Ari B, has a companion — the small “red dwarf” star shown at upper left. This pair of stars is itself locked in a long-distance orbit with another pair of stars (upper right), known as 30 Ari A. Researchers using instruments at the Palomar Observatory near San Diego, Calif., recently discovered the red star at upper left, bringing the total number of known stars in the system from three to four.
Image copyright: Karen Teramura, UH IfA

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?

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.

Read about NASA looking for private and business to help drive the human journey to the beginning of space and time

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Read about Einstein’s Spacetime

You can learn more about NASA’s search for exoplanets here.