Astronomers may have discovered the first planet orbiting three stars

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October 5, 2021 12:36 GMT

The clues come from a star system called GW Orionis, which lies 1,300 light-years from Earth in the constellation Orion.

Researchers have discovered signs of a small planet orbiting three stars simultaneously.

was the discovery general in September in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society and indicates that it is the first circular planet ever discovered.

Clues come from a star system called GW Orionis, which is located in 1300 light years from Earth In the constellation Orion. It is surrounded by a massive disk of dust and gas, a common feature in young star systems.

GW Orionis consists of two stars orbiting each other at the same distance from Earth from the Sun, and a third orbiting these two stars at a distance eight times greater, the researchers describe.

Using data captured by the ALMA powerful radio telescope, astronomers analyzed Three rings of dust observed around the three stars, which are fundamental to the formation of planets. However, they discovered a tantalizing gap in the oceanic disk.

The research team studied various origins, including the possibility that the gap was created by the gravitational momentum of the three stars. But after building a complete model of GW Orionis, they find that the most likely explanation for disk space is The presence of one or more massive planets, similar in nature to Jupiter.

“It’s really exciting because it makes the theory of planetary formation really powerful.” She said Jeremy Smallwood, lead author of the research, in a statement published Saturday. “It could mean that the planets are more active than we thought, which is pretty cool,” he added.

New observations from the ALMA telescope are expected in the coming months, which could provide direct evidence of this phenomenon.

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