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Quadruple-Star System Now Forming

A quadruple-star system has been discovered by the ALMA Survey of Orion Planck Galactic Cold Clumps (ALMASOP) led by Prof. LIU Tie from Shanghai Astronomical Observatory (SHAO). They used the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) to conduct a a high-resolution investigation on 72 dense cores in the Orion Giant Molecular Clouds (GMCs).

Extant models suggest that multiple star system forms via fragmentation of a cloud core in its early evolution. To explore the origin of multiple star systems, the ALMASOP team conducted a high-resolution investigation on 72 young and cold cores in the Orion GMCs. Scientists observed the thermal emission of dust at a wavelength of 1.3 mm. They discovered a quadruple protostellar system in G206.93-16.61E2, a dense cold core located at 1,500 light-years from Earth within the Orion B GMC. The system consists four members: two protostars, and two prestellar gas condensations that may also form low-mass stars in future.

Scientists discovered that the largest separation of the four members in the system is only one thousand astronomical units. "The exceptional compactness and close-proximity of this system is a fascinating discovery. The analysis suggests that this system is very likely to form a gravitationally bound quadruple star system in the future," said Ph.D. LUO Qiuyi at SHAO and the first author of the study. Scientists also discovered several ribbon-like elongated structures in dust emission, tightly binding the four members together and extending outward.

(Via Astronomers Discover Forming Quadruple-star System: More Intimate, More Complex.)

How about an artificial quadruple star system - inside an asteroid!

And then, abruptly, there it was before him — black, pitted, the blinding glare of the sun struggling with the alternate space-dark shadows in the harsh glare of its surface, one hundred twenty miles of barren rock, its sullen bulk an unclean stain against the clear, calm coolness of the far-off stars. Gravite! A city in an asteroid!

“...All the comforts of home!” exclaimed Adam. The screen showed Gravite below, alive with color, flinging metal arms up to its unnatural sky. The screen, itself, was a combined televisor-telecaster, revealing everything within its wide range of reception.

Directly ahead of them rock glared with dull resentment under the light of the quadruple artificial suns. The huge hole extending back into it was abysmally black. Adam jockeyed the ship easily into the opening, dropped it to the flooring. They heard the clamp of electromagnetic grapples against the hull, then were hurtling along at tremendous speed.

Golden Age science fiction writer Stanton A. Coblentz described quadruple-star systems very poetically in his story Beyond the Universe, published in Amazing Stories in December of 1934:

Fascinated, I found myself in the midst of blazing star-clusters, whose myriad suns stared out at me like the jewels of some radiant tiara; with an incommunicable ecstasy, I peered into the abysses of vast gaseous nebulae, all cloudy-shaped and mysteriously glowing; ravished with joy, I gazed at the giant suns, Arcturus and Betelguese, and the red Antares, and at systems of double and triple and quadruple suns with their streams of planets strewn about them through the black void.

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