Scientists have discovered a triple star system as massive as any they’ve never seen before.
why does it matter: By learning more about these types of star systemsNow, astronomers can put together a better idea of how stars and planets form throughout the universe.
What they found: The system consists of two stars orbiting each other in a binary and a third orbiting a binary, according to study Published at the end of June in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.
- The two stars in the binary system combined are 12 times larger From the Sun, the third star has a mass 16 times the mass of the Sun.
- “To our knowledge, it is the first of its kind ever to be discovered,” said Alejandro Vigna Gómez, one of the study’s authors. statement.
- “We know of many triple star systems (three star systems), but they are usually significantly less massive. The massive stars in this triple are very close together – it’s a compact system.”
The Big Picture: The scientists behind the discovery believe this system likely formed as two sets of binaries orbiting each other.
- Then one of the stars in the outer duo merged with its companion, leaving a massive star orbiting the other duo.