MARK GARLICK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MARK GARLICK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Binary star formation. Artwork depicting the formation of a binary star system. The newly formed young stars are at the centre of a disk of gas and dust, and are seen to orbit a common centre of mass. A hot, bright object in the disk is a large planet, which has swept a path clear of material in the disk (dark lane). Such disks are known as protoplanetary disks, or proplyds. As the central stars begin to cool, other rocky planets may form from the disk around smaller knots of material. Proplyds have characteristic light signatures, particularly in the infrared, and have been detected around many young stars.
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