Is our solar system typical? No! Astronomers find that most stars have companions; binary or multiple-star systems. The stars are in an orbital dance. Although the sun probably formed as part of an open star cluster, the stars have drifted apart and the sun was left alone. Although stars in multiple-star systems often have planets, the impact of the gravity from a second star may make conditions for life more challenging.
Binary stars are stars that orbit each other. Some stars appearing together from our perspective are actually thousands of light-years apart. These are double stars. You can see one with just your eyes in the hump of the Big Dipper’s tail. The stars are Alcor and Mizar and can be seen rising low in the northeast around 9 p.m.
To see the wonders of the sky, come to the observatory’s Public Night on the first Friday of each month from sunset to 10 p.m.