A team of astronomers have discovered a planet with three stars. Well it does sound slightly weird, but it is true. The multi star planetary system recently discovered is by far one of the weirdest planetary systems discovered by the astronomers. Just imagine a day in your life, with three sunrises and three sunsets. It sums up all of it I suppose. The icing on the cake is the fact that the entire duration of the sunrises and sunsets in way more than the lifetime of an individual.
According to the study published online, HD 131399Ab is a planet that orbits three stars at one time. The planet with three stars is located at a distance of 340 light years and is believed to be approximately 16 million years old. The planet HD 131399Ab is one of the few planets that has been identified via direct imaging till date and also happens to the youngest exoplanets discovered till date.
According to the study, the planet with three stars has an average temperature of about 850 Kelvin (580 degree celcius or 1070 degrees Fahrenheit approximately). The planet with three stars has a mass of about 4 Jupiters taken together and is the coldest exoplanet ever discovered. Well, 580 degrees Celsius and cold does make things weird.
According to Daniel Apai, Assistant Professor of Astronomy and Planetary sciences at University of Arizona has stated, “HD 131399Ab is one of the few exoplanets that have been directly imaged, and it’s the first one in such an interesting dynamical configuration”
Kevin Wagner, the first year PhD Student, who discovered the planet with three stars has stated, “For about half of the planet’s orbit, which lasts 550 Earth-years, three stars are visible in the sky, the fainter two always much closer together, and changing in apparent separation from the brightest star throughout the year. For much of the planet’s year the stars appear close together, giving it a familiar night-side and day-side with a unique triple-sunset and sunrise each day. As the planet orbits and the stars grow further apart each day, they reach a point where the setting of one coincides with the rising of the other – at which point the planet is in near-constant daytime for about one-quarter of its orbit, or roughly 140 Earth-years.”
The study also points to the fact that the orbit of the planet with three stars is approximately twice the size of Pluto’s orbit, if it were the part of our solar system. The researchers are slightly bewildered with the wide orbit that the planet HD 131399Ab has. The paper was authored by Kevin Wagner, co-authored by numerous scientists and astronomer from all over the world.
Watch the orbit of the planet with three stars