The moment a young “Mini-Me” star is born orbiting another giant sun has been spotted by astronomers.
Unusually the star is forming in the same way that our sun was, from a mass of swirling space debris in the orbit of a giant sun.
A disc of dust and gas surrounds the newly forming star and as it spins at high speed this material clumps together to form planets orbiting the sun.
But because the disc is so huge it’s actually creating a smaller star half the size of our sun which is orbiting another star 40 times as big as our sun.
The discovery was made as astronomers observed the young massive star MM 1a. The study was published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters.
They were investigating the surrounding rotating disc of gas and dust and detected a faint object, MM 1b, just beyond the disc in orbit around MM 1a.
The team believes this is one of the first examples of a “fragmented” disc to be detected around a massive young star.