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New Planets
Binary and multiple-star systems are about twice as abundant as single-star systems in our galaxy. In a typical binary system, two stars of roughly similar masses twirl around each other like pair-figure skaters. In some systems, the two stars are very far apart and barely interact with each other. In other cases, the stellar twins are intricately linked, whipping around each other quickly due to the force of gravity. Observations from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope have revealed that mature planetary systems -- dusty disks of asteroids, comets and possibly planets --are more frequent around binary stars than single stars like our sun. That means sunsets like the one portrayed in this artist's photo concept, and more famously in the movie "Star Wars," might be quite commonplace in the universe. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

01/14/09

 



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