In a star system 1,300 light-years from Earth, researchers at UNLV (University of Nevada, Las Vegas) may have identified the first known planet orbiting 3 stars.
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Unlike our solar system, which consists of a single star, half of all star systems are thought to be like Head GW, where astronomers noticed the new phenomenon, consisting of two or more stars gravitationally bound to each other. But no planet has been discovered orbiting three stars, in a triple circular orbit.
Using observations from the powerful Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) telescope, UNLV astronomers analyzed the three dust rings observed around the three stars, which are critical to planet formation. But they did find a large, albeit perplexing, gap in the circumference of the disc.
The team investigated various origins, including the possibility that the gap was created by the gravitational torque of the three stars. But after building a complete model of Head GW, he found that the most likely and fascinating explanation for the disk space is the presence of one or more massive planets similar in nature to Jupiter.
As he said in a release Jeremy Smallwood, lead author and PhD in astronomy from UNLV, gas giants are often the first planets to form within a star system. It is followed by terrestrial planets such as Earth and Mars.
The planet itself is not visible, but the discovery, which was highlighted in a study conducted in September in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, indicates that this is the first circular planet ever discovered. More ALMA telescope observations are expected in the coming months, which may provide direct evidence of this phenomenon.
“It’s really exciting because it makes the theory of planetary formation really powerful.”Diego Smallwood. “It could mean that the planets are more active than we think, which is a very good thing.”.
Source: Europa Press
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