Astronomers could have found first planet to orbit 3 stars


An picture of GW Orionis, a triple star system with a mysterious hole in its surrounding dust rings. UNLV astronomers hypothesize the presence of a large planet within the hole, which might be the primary planet ever found to orbit three stars. The left picture, supplied by the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) telescope, exhibits the disc’s ringed construction, with the innermost ring separated from the remainder of the disc. The observations in the correct picture present the shadow of the innermost ring on the remainder of the disc. UNLV astronomers used observations from ALMA to assemble a complete mannequin of the star system. Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), ESO/Exeter/Kraus et al.

UNLV researchers and colleagues could have recognized the primary recognized planet to orbit three stars.

Unlike our solar system, which consists of a solitary star, it’s believed that half of all star techniques, like GW Ori the place astronomers noticed the novel phenomenon, include two or extra stars which are gravitationally certain to one another.

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But no planet orbiting three stars—a circumptriple orbit—has ever been found. Perhaps till now.


Using observations from the highly effective Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) telescope, UNLV astronomers analyzed the three noticed dust rings across the three stars, that are vital to forming planets.

But they discovered a considerable, but puzzling, hole within the circumtriple disc.

The analysis group investigated completely different origins, together with the chance that the hole was created by gravitational torque from the three stars. But after setting up a complete mannequin of GW Ori, they discovered that the extra seemingly, and interesting, rationalization for the space within the disc is the presence of a number of large planets, Jupiter-like in nature. Gas giants, in line with Jeremy Smallwood, lead writer and a latest Ph.D. graduate in astronomy from UNLV, are often the primary planets to kind inside a star system. Terrestrial planets like Earth and Mars observe.

The planet itself can’t be seen, however the discovering—highlighted in a September examine within the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society—means that that is the primary circumtriple planet ever found. Further observations from the ALMA telescope are anticipated within the coming months, which may present direct proof of the phenomenon.

“It’s really exciting because it makes the theory of planet formation really robust,” Smallwood mentioned. “It could mean that planet formation is much more active than we thought, which is pretty cool.”

Giant planet at large distance from sun-like star puzzles astronomers

More info:
Jeremy L Smallwood et al, GW Ori: circumtriple rings and planets, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (2021). DOI: 10.1093/mnras/stab2624

Astronomers could have found first planet to orbit 3 stars (2021, October 2)
retrieved 2 October 2021

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