Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

  • News & Views
  • Published:


A pas de trois birth for wide binary stars

The widest binary star systems pose a challenge to theory: true stellar twins could not form so far apart. Simulations suggest these twins are in fact triplets, two of which masquerade as one star and cast out the third. See Letter p.221

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Buy this article

Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout

Figure 1: Wide binary star systems.



  1. *This article and the paper under discussion1 were published online on 5 December 2012.


  1. Reipurth, B. & Mikkola, S. Nature 492, 221–224 (2012).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  2. Innes, R. T. A. Union Obs. Circ. 30, 235–236 (1915).

    ADS  Google Scholar 

  3. Wertheimer, J. G. & Laughlin, G. Astron. J. 132, 1995–1997 (2006).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  4. Dhital, S., West, A. A., Stassun, K. G. & Bochanski, J. J. Astron. J. 139, 2566–2586 (2010).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  5. Sesar, B., Ivezić, Ž. & Jurić, M. Astrophys. J. 689, 1244–1273 (2008).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  6. Bate, M. R. & Bonnel, I. A. Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc. 356, 1201–1221 (2005).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  7. Kouwenhoven, M. B. N. et al. Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc. 404, 1835–1848 (2010).

    ADS  Google Scholar 

  8. Moeckel, N. & Clarke, C. J. Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc. 415, 1179–1187 (2011).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  9. Law, N. M., Dhital, S., Kraus, A., Stassun, K. G. & West, A. A. Astrophys. J. 720, 1727–1737 (2010).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  10. Dhital. S. et al. Astron. J. 143, 67 (2012).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  11. Dumusque, X. et al. Nature 491, 207–211 (2012).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Keivan Guadalupe Stassun.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Stassun, K. A pas de trois birth for wide binary stars. Nature 492, 191–192 (2012).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing