Scientists Discover a Solar System with Three Stars

You know what they say that one life is not enough to see it all. And this applies especially in the case of astronomy. Ever since man began to explore the heavens, the Universe has done nothing else but to provide us surprises. Not to mention that for the recent years, astrophysicists are taking more and more seriously the idea that our Universe is just one of many others that together form the Multiverse.

Any person who has a basic general knowledge knows that a solar system has only one star. But nature is once again there to contradict our base models.

The Orion Constellation hosts a solar system with three stars

Thanks to the Atacama Large Millimeter-submillimeter Array (ALMA), a solar system named GW Orionis and located 1,300 light-years away from Earth captured the astronomers’ attention. The structure features three rings of planet-forming material that revolves around not one, but three stars.

The solar system consists of two stars orbiting around each other at a distance of about one astronomical unit. A third star is orbiting the pair at a distance of eight astronomical units.

Thanks to the European Southern Observatory (ESO), we have an artistic animation of the motion of the stars within GW Orionis:

Astronomer Jiaqing Bi from the University of Victoria in Canada declared:

“We were surprised to see the strong misalignment of the inner ring,

“But the strange warp in the disk is confirmed by a twisted pattern that ALMA measured in the gas of the disc.”

Astronomer Stefan Kraus from the University of Exeter in the UK, declared:

“At the same time, ALMA allowed us to measure the precise shape of the ring that casts the shadow. Combining this information allows us to derive the three-dimensional orientation of the misaligned ring and of the warped disk surface.”

The research was published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters (https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.3847/2041-8213/ab8eb4) and Science (https://science.sciencemag.org/content/369/6508/1233).

Melanie J. Gullett
Melanie is one of our most experienced contributors. With ten years of experience in this domain, Melanie covers topics related to health, movies, TV series, and more.