Identical twin stars are remarkably different

June 19th, 2008 - 2:23 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, June 19 (ANI): The analysis of the youngest pair of identical twin stars yet discovered has revealed remarkable differences in brightness, surface temperature and possibly even the size of the two.

The identical twins were discovered in the Orion Nebula, a well-known stellar nursery, that is 1,500 light years away.

The newly formed stars are about one million years old. With a full lifespan of about 50 billion years, that makes them equivalent to one-day-old human babies.

Their study suggests that one of the stars formed significantly earlier than its twin.

Because astrophysicists have assumed that binary stars form simultaneously, the discovery provides an important new test for successful star formation theories, forcing theorists back to the drawing board to determine if their models can produce binaries with stars that form at different times.

Very young eclipsing binaries like this are the Rosetta stones that tell us about the life history of newly formed stars, said Keivan Stassun, associate professor of astronomy at Vanderbilt University.

Eclipsing binaries are pairs of stars that revolve around an axis at a right angle to the direction to Earth.

This orientation allows astronomers to determine the rate that the two stars orbit around each other

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