Beyond Gemini: The Birth of Multiple Star Systems
When it comes to sibling relations stars are not all that different from people. As an only child, our Sun is unusual among stars. Most stars have brothers and sisters. Astronomers do not yet have exact numbers but the rule of thumb seems to be that more than half the stars in our Milky Way galaxy were born with (at least one) companion. While they have known about the existence of multiple star systems for hundreds of years astronomers still do not know exactly how or why they form. Now, using the world’s most powerful computers a team of scientists has opened a new, digital window on the secrets of the stellar nursery.