Featured Image: Formation of the First Binaries

This still from a computer simulation (click for the full view!) shows the formation of a very early star system in the universe. In the gas-density volume rendering above, a binary composed of a single protostar (left) and a mini-triple set of protostars (right) has recently formed from the collapse and fragmentation of a primordial cloud of gas. The simulation, conducted by Kazuyuki Sugimura (University of Maryland; Tohoku University, Japan) and collaborators, follows not only what happens in the initial collapse of the cloud, but also how the subsequent evolution over the next ~100,000 years is influenced by the hot, ionizing radiation of the multiple stars that are forming (visible in this image as yellow bubbles of ionized gas around the poles of the stellar systems). Sugimura and collaborators’ work suggests that the first stars in the universe commonly formed as massive binary or multiple systems. To learn more about the study, check out the article below.


“The Birth of a Massive First-star Binary,” Kazuyuki Sugimura et al 2020 ApJL 892 L14. doi:10.3847/2041-8213/ab7d37