Nasa scientists use Hubble data to investigate breakups in multiple star systems

The stars were hurtling through space in opposite directions instead of being in a stable orbit around the center of the galaxy.

Nasa researchers were perplexed by a pair of runaway stars. The stars were hurtling through space in opposite directions instead of being in a stable orbit around the center of the galaxy. The two stars appeared to have originated from the same spot in space, 540 years ago, before they started zooming away from each other. The scientists concluded that both stars were part of a now defunct multiple star system. There was an unexplained cause for the runaway stars, a gap which was plugged from data gathered using the Hubble Space Telescope.

Nasa scientists use Hubble data to investigate breakups in multiple star systems

The runaway stars. Image: Nasa.

Nasa scientists traced a third star, also to the same point in space, in the Kleinmann-Low Nebula near the Orion Nebula complex, about 1,300 light years away. This allowed the scientists to figure out a complicated dance in multiple star systems that allows some of the stars to escape and zoom through space.

Say there is a four star system, and orbits of two stars come close together, they either collide of combine into a tight binary star formation. The other two stars are ejected in opposite directions.

The James Webb Space Telescope. Image: NASA

The James Webb Space Telescope. Image: NASA

Astronomers stumbled across the third star while looking for flee floating planets in the Orion nebula. The gravitational tussle took place at the same time when British Royal Families were engaged in the War of Roses on Earth. The research has been published in the The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

The scientists hope to identify more runway stars from broken up multiple star systems using Hubble data combined with observations of the James Webb Space Telescope, that Nasa is preparing to launch.

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