Observations of Interacting Twin Disks
The article by Weber et al. 2023a was published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. You can find a popular science article about the research results here.
Star systems with multiple stars are not uncommon, and their presence poses intriguing questions about the formation and evolution of planets around them. These systems, known as binary or multiples, consist of two or more stars orbiting each other. In such complex gravitational environments, the process of planet formation takes on a different dynamic. The gravitational interactions between the stars and the protoplanetary disk, the swirling cloud of gas and dust from which planets are born, can lead to unique orbital configurations and gravitational perturbations. These factors influence the distribution of material within the protoplanetary disks and, therefore, is also expected the impact thge process of planet formation within. Studying the appearance of protoplanetary disks in multiple star systems provides valuable insights into the specifics of these environments.
During the formation of stars in crowded stellar communities, an interesting phenonmenon can occur: young stellar systems experiencing gravitational encounters. Imagine a place where stars and their surroundings interact during their early stages of development. These interactions can be brief, long-term partnerships, or even cases of stellar capture.
In our article titled "The SPHERE view of three interacting twin disc systems in polarized light", we made groundbreaking observations using the SPHERE/IRDIS instrument. We studied three captivating systems: AS 205, EM* SR 24, and FU Orionis. By using near-infrared polarized light, we discovered fascinating spirals that show the gravitational interactions between the stars.
We also observed delicate filaments connecting these stellar companions. These bridges exchange material between the stars, revealing insights into their cosmic narratives. By analyzing the patterns of polarized intensity, we identified the main light source responsible for illuminating the bridges.
Additionally, we observed an intriguing phenomenon: the interplay of polarized intensity from multiple light sources can create darkened regions in the image. These voids, like the ones observed in the AS 205 system, show areas where polarized intensity appears to cancel.
To gain a better understanding of these stellar interactions, we compared our polarized light observations with data from other sources. High-resolution views from the ALMA observatory, capturing both continuum and gas emissions, provided valuable perspectives. By combining different observations, we aim to unravel the structures, trajectories, and dynamics of these systems, revealing the hidden secrets of stellar interactions.
These observations offer glimpses into the fascinating history of stars in crowded stellar environments. By studying the interplay of light and gravitational forces, astronomers continue to explore different scenarios of stellar interactions, providing insights into the dynamic nature of our universe.
A number of YEMS scientists contributed to this article: P. Weber, S. Pérez, A. Zurlo, L. Cieza and C. González-Ruilova.