Email Print Share

Simulations Show Universe's First Twin Stars

Computer simulation showing the formation of two high-density regions in the early universe

This computer simulated image shows the formation of two high-density regions (yellow) in the early universe, approximately 200 million years after the big bang. The cores are separated by about 800 times the distance between the Earth and the sun and are expected to evolve into a binary--or twin--star system.

The simulations were created by astrophysicists Matthew Turk and Tom Abel of the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, and Brian O'Shea of Michigan State University.

"We used to think that these stars formed by themselves, but now we see from our computer simulations that sometimes they have siblings," said Turk. "These stars provide the seeds of next-generation star formation so by understanding them, we can better understand how other stars and galaxies formed."

Further information about this research, supported by a National Science Foundation grant (AST 08-07312), is available in the SLAC press release "Simulations Illuminate Universe's First Twin Stars." (Date of Image: 2009)

Credit: Visualization by Ralf Kaehler, Matthew Tuk and Tom Abel; Science magazine, Matthew Turk, Tom Abel and Brian O'Shea
See other images like this in NSF's Science360 for iPad app. To download the Science360 for iPad application for free, visit the Apple iTunes store.

General Restrictions:
Images and other media in the National Science Foundation Multimedia Gallery are available for use in print and electronic material by NSF employees, members of the media, university staff, teachers and the general public. All media in the gallery are intended for personal, educational and nonprofit/non-commercial use only.

Images credited to the National Science Foundation, a federal agency, are in the public domain. The images were created by employees of the United States Government as part of their official duties or prepared by contractors as "works for hire" for NSF. You may freely use NSF-credited images and, at your discretion, credit NSF with a "Courtesy: National Science Foundation" notation. Additional information about general usage can be found in Conditions.

Also Available:
Download the high-resolution JPG version of the image. (4.9 MB)

Use your mouse to right-click (Mac users may need to Ctrl-click) the link above and choose the option that will save the file or target to your computer.