Jupiter-sized planet having ‘three suns’ discovered
In a rare occurrence, astronomers have discovered a triple-star system. In layman terms, we can say that a planet having three suns has been identified.
The discovery was published in the Astronomical Journal by researchers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.
Named KELT, it is the fourth of its kind and is also the closest to earth, thus making it important to further observe this phenomenon. The KELT system is comprised of a gaseous planed called KELT-4ab and its three governing stars, KELT-4A, KELT-4B and KELT- 4C.
The planet, about as big as Jupiter, takes three days to go around KELT-4A, the star closest to it. KELT- 4B and KELT- 4C are further away from KELT-4ab and orbit around one another, with one orbit spanning 30 years. Additionally, KELT- 4A and KELT-4ab too revolve around KELT- 4B and 4C over the course of 4000 years.
The existence of KELT system was known since 1973. However, KELT- 4B and KELT- 4C were thought to exist as one star. The new information will help broaden our knowledge of how the three stars affect the planet KELT-4ab and how three-star systems work.