The recent discovery is based on research from a recent radio survey of a giant molecular cloud with many recently formed stars in the Perseus constellation. The findings suggest that stars, rather than forming individually, actually form in pairs and then eventually drift apart approximately a million years later.
The interesting find could mean that our very own Sun may have once had it’s own partnering star – commonly referred to as a ‘Nemesis’, for which astronomers have been hunting for years.
“We are saying, yes, there probably was a Nemesis, a long time ago,” said study co-author Steven Stahler. “We ran a series of statistical models to see if we could account for the relative populations of young single stars and binaries of all separations in the Perseus molecular cloud, and the only model that could reproduce the data was one in which all stars form initially as wide binaries.”
“These systems then either shrink or break apart within a million years.”
A ‘wide binary’ is a pair of stars approximately 500 astronomical units apart, which would have positioned the star 17 times further away from Earth than Neptune.
Based on the data model, our Sun’s Nemesis would have likely escaped into the Milky Way and mingled with the stars.