Home > Astronomy, General Astronomy, Solar System, Star & Solar System Formation > Wide Binary Stars Can Wreak Havoc In Planetary Systems

Wide Binary Stars Can Wreak Havoc In Planetary Systems


An international team of astrophysicists has shown that planetary systems with very distant binary stars are particularly susceptible to violent disruptions, more so than if the systems had two stellar companions with tighter orbits around each other.

The team, led by Northwestern University’s Nathan Kaib, conducted 3,000 computer simulations to study the effects of binary stellar companions (some with tight orbits around each other and others with wide or distant orbits) on the formation and evolution of planetary systems.

The researchers found that wide binary stars in planetary systems can lead to dramatic events over time. In one hypothetical system, the researchers added a wide binary companion to the Earth’s solar system. This triggered at least one of four giant planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune) to be ejected in almost half of the simulations.

Full Story: http://www.northwestern.edu/newscenter/stories/2013/01/wide-binary-stars-can-wreak-havoc-in-planetary-systems.html

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