Featured Image: Simulating the Birth of a Close Binary

The stills above (click for the full view!) represent different time stages in the formation of a close stellar binary from a collapsing cloud of gas. In a recent study, two researchers from Kyushu University in Japan, Yu Saiki and Masahiro Machida, conduct numerical simulations to track the complicated process of a binary’s formation and evolution over ~400 years. In the above frames, the top left panel shows the fragmentation of the gas cloud into two cores roughly 9,000 years after the cloud initially begins to collapse. The succeeding panels show how the separation between these two protostars shrinks over the next several hundred years and disks of gas form around each star and around the binary pair. Saiki and Machida’s simulations also show the high-velocity jets driven from each protostar in the process (see the video below), and how the twin jets tangle on large scales as the stars orbit one another. The characteristics revealed in these simulations neatly reproduce our observations of protobinary systems. For more information, check out the original article linked below the video.


“Twin Jets and Close Binary Formation,” Yu Saiki and Masahiro N. Machida 2020 ApJL 897 L22. doi:10.3847/2041-8213/ab9d86