A team of researchers working at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics has announced the finding of a triple-star system – one that also as has a stable orbit planet in it. In their paper published in The Astronomical Journal, the team describes how they came to see that a binary system once thought to be a single star, was actually a pair of stars orbiting one another, and how that led to the revelation of the triple-star system.
The report reveals two distant stars orbiting each other and a closer third star which would appear 40 times as large as our sun. Two robotically controlled telescopes – one in Arizona, and one in South Africa – determined the gas giant planet KELT-4Ab was orbiting two separate stars which had always appeared to be one. The brighter third star will make it easier to study both the star itself and the nearby planet. “Known planets with three stars appearing in their sky are rare. This new discovery is just the fourth, and it has caused excitement in the space community because it is the closest one yet, allowing for a better look than has been
possible with the other finds.”
“The environment in which this planet exists is quite spectacular,” add Maciej Konacki from the California Institute of Technology, adding that “With three suns, the sky view must be out of this world – literally and figuratively.”