‘First of its kind’ Triple Star System Detected in Deep Space

Astronomers have discovered a triple star system unlike any other observed before. The odd trio of stars is remarkably more massive and tightly packed together than a ordinary triple system, which might be because the stellar triplets once had a fourth sibling before one of the others consume it.

The triple, or tertiary, star system is known as TIC 470710327, and it was discovered using data from NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (or TESS), which orbits Earth. The trio has a hierarchical structure, which means that a pair of binary stars circle each other in the system’s centre, while a third star orbits the central pair.

System with three stars is not rare: According to NASA, up to 10% of whole star systems in the universe might be tertiary. Astronomers discovered a single exoplanet circling a tertiary system for the first time in September 2021, suggested that life might exist in these systems.

TIC 470710327, on the other hand, stands out from all other known tertiary systems due to its form and size. Because the stars are substantially more huge than the ordinary stars seen in a tertiary system, the trio is much more closely packed because they all exert a higher gravitational attraction than usual.

The binary pair of stars at the centre of TIC 470710327 has a total mass of around 12 times that of the sun, and the two stars orbit each other in little over a day. The bigger outer star is considerably more huge, weighing around the same as 16 suns, and it circles the binary pair once every 52 days, which is absolutely quickly considering their size.

The researchers want to continue searching for similarly huge and compact tertiary systems, to find out whether this kind of system is rare in our universe or not.

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