Amazing Solar System With 6 Orbiting Stars is Discovered By NASA

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Amazing Solar System With 6 Orbiting Stars is Discovered By NASA

NASA has made another ground-breaking discovery using their TESS satellite system, a solar system with six stars operating as three distinct binary systems.

While other solar systems with six stars have been observed previously, the new system, known as TIC 168789840, is unique in that the stars are split into three groups of two stars. This triple-binary system means that a star orbits the other star in its pair and all the star pairs orbit the other pairs in a giant system cluster.

The paper revealing the discovery stated:

"TIC 168789840 is a fascinating system that naturally merits additional observation and analysis. Though quite similar to the Castor system, the triplet nature of TIC 168789840 combined with the presence of three primary and three secondary eclipses enable further investigations into its stellar formation and evolution. Remarkable objects like TIC 168789840 or Castor give us insights on the formation of multiple systems — a matter of active research and debate."

The system is around 1,900 light-years away. Researchers took a special interest in the area of the night sky in which the sextuplet stars were found due to the area dimming and brightening erratically. Upon closer inspection, the 6 star system was uncovered.

The strange dimming and brightening, is believed to occur due to the fact that the stars in the cluster are constantly eclipsing one another, leading to periods of powerful light and relative dimness.

Brian Powell, of NASA, said of the discovery:

"The system exists against the odds. Just the fact that it exists blows my mind. I'd love to just be in a spaceship, park next to this thing and see it in person."

Scientists are at present fairly certain that no planet can exist within the close orbit of any of the stars. This is because the stars orbit so close to one another that any planet would immediately be pulled into them by the sheer gravitational force. It is however possible that planets do exist but at a much further distance in orbit.

It is currently unknown how the stars formed in this most unusual of patterns. Researchers do suggest though that three of the stars may have already been in place and that each individual star grew a binary companion after they pushed through a dense mass of cosmic gas. This however is at present merely a theoretical postulation.

The TESS (Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite) has discovered a huge host of new planets and new celestial phenomena since it came online, of which the sextuplet system is just the latest. The team behind TESS added:

"TESS has allowed us to find well over 100 such candidate multi-star systems to date, with the analysis of another sextuple system … to follow this in the near future."

h/t: The Mind Unleashed

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Thinking Humanity: Amazing Solar System With 6 Orbiting Stars is Discovered By NASA
Amazing Solar System With 6 Orbiting Stars is Discovered By NASA
NASA has made another ground-breaking discovery using their TESS satellite system, a solar system with six stars operating as three distinct binary sy
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