The universe is even more deep and expansive than previously thought, as a study reveals the existence of massive cluster of stars that inhabit the Galactic H ii region Sh2-311 region, which is located 16,000 light-years away from Earth. The main ionising source for this region is the HD 64315 and the study indicates that the source could hold two binary systems that could potentially hold two massive stars.
According to Phys.org, the observations were made by the researchers examining more than 50 high-resolution spectra of HD 64315 taken from previous explorations as well as existing catalogue references. Upon closer examining, the photos revealed the existence of signatures of more than two key bodies or components in the cluster, hinting that the spectra HD 64315 could at least four separate components. The two binary systems that were found in the cluster are about 500 AU from each other and one of them is known to be an eclipsing binary.
The researchers speculate that each of the binary systems could have the equivalent of at least 10 solar masses but could go as far as 30 solar masses. The hotter of the two components is the non-eclipsing binary system which also dominates the appearance of the whole system. HD 64315 itself consists of over 90 solar masses. But the eclipsing binary recently discovered seems to be one of the biggest uncovered so far.
One particular challenge in identifying the two binary systems is the accuracy of identifying them since the common markers usually applied for identification are the spectra lines that rotate at high velocities. As neither of the spectral lines have unique identifying features and their peaks all look similar, it is difficult to closely determine which of the systems need to be studied. Instead, the study uses assumptions to derive a correlation to the binaries that an identify them such as the assumptions in distance of the two binaries. The research does not rule out the possibility that HD 64315 could well be a much bigger cluster of stars than previously thought and that it may potentially be a larger, hierarchical system of multiple binary systems.
The study was conducted by a group of astronomers led by Javier Lorenzo of the University of Alicante in Spain. The study and its eventual findings showcase the need for more detailed analysis on the multiplicity of such complex clusters stars.