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Bizarre Type Of Star Formation Challenges What We Know About The Solar System, Here’s Why

First Posted: Oct 21, 2016 05:33 AM EDT
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A complex 'binary-binary' star formation discovered recently is baffling the scientific community and contradicting its knowledge of the solar system as per reports. The newly detected system involves a binary system where one of the stars is actually two stars that orbit closely. Incidentally, a binary system consists of two stars that rotate around each other due to their gravitational pull.

As per scientists, the newly detected star formation challenges everything they know about the formation of the solar system. At present, researchers think that a cloud of gas known as protoplanetary disk formed the solar system, and all the planets shifted to their current orbit. However, this theory cannot account for the inclined orbit of Pluto. "The classical planet formation paradigm, that giant planets form and reside only in circular orbits at large distances from their parent stars, works well for our solar system, but not for extrasolar planetary systems," the researchers wrote. The new star system can be used to understand the solar system's formation, as per Dr Bo Ma who is the lead author of the study.

Named HD 87646, the binary-binary was first spotted in 2006 and it has taken scientists eight years of analysis to confirm that it was a quite bizarre finding indeed. According to the scientists, it is the "first close binary system with more than one substellar circumprimary companion that has been discovered". The system is located about 240 light years away. In addition, two huge planets orbit the star system at distances similar to that of the Earth and the sun. The finding defies current perceptions about how star systems form, since both the planets have been suggested to be huge with measurements of being 12 and 57 times the size of Jupiter respectively, and yet be stable in spite of being closely located.

Additionally, the researching team suggested that the large sizes of the two substellar objects imply they could be created as stars with their binary hosts. "A large molecular cloud collapsed and fragmented into four pieces; the larger two successfully became stars and formed the HD 87646 binary, and the other smaller ones failed to form stars and became the substellar objects in this system," stated the study paper. As per a report, the scientists feel it is too early to say whether the current understanding about the formation of our solar system needs an upgrade because something absolutely different could be occurring in HD 87646.

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