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Astronomers Find Evidence of Planet Forming Around Binary Star System

March 06, 1997|From Times staff and wire reports

German and American astronomers have discovered a dust disk--the stuff from which planets are formed--around a binary star system, the first direct evidence that planets can form around double stars. It is, moreover, only the second dust disk that has been directly observed. The discovery broadens the possibility that habitable planets exist elsewhere in the universe because more than half of all stars in our galaxy are binaries.

Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy and the University of Hawaii report in the March 6 issue of the journal Nature that they observed the disk around binary stellar system BD+31 643.

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