For the first time ever, there is now a picture of a solar system with multiple stars being formed.

The triplet system forming from an unstable gas disc rotating around the central star. Credit: ALMA/ESO/NAOJ/NRAO

A research team led by researchers at the Universities of Oklahoma and Arizona has been using the ALMA telescope in Chile and discovered a young solar system where three stars are being formed.

Using the ALMA telescope, based in Chile’s Atacama desert, and the VLA telescope in New Mexico, they spotted the young triple star called L1448 IRS3B. Located in a dust cloud 750 light years from Earth.

The third star has just been born and it confirms what researchers had previously only known in theory. Namely that the disc of matter surrounding the main star can become unstable and then form a new star.

The findings are published in the journal Nature.


A triple protostar system formed via fragmentation of a gravitationally unstable disk