Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Planet discovered in 3-star system

  1. Jul 14, 2005 #1


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Triple Sunset: Planet Discovered in 3-Star System :cool: Awesome!

    A newly discovered planet has bountiful sunshine, with not one, not two, but three suns glowing in its sky.

    It is the first extrasolar planet found in a system with three stars. How a planet was born amidst these competing gravitational forces will be a challenge for planet formation theories.

    "The environment in which this planet exists is quite spectacular," said Maciej Konacki from the California Institute of Technology. "With three suns, the sky view must be out of this world -- literally and figuratively."

    The triple-star system, HD 188753, is located 149 light-years away in the constellation Cygnus. The primary star is like our Sun, weighing 1.06 solar masses. The other two stars form a tightly bound pair, which is separated from the primary by approximately the Sun-Saturn distance.

    "The pair more or less acts as one star," Konacki told SPACE.com. The combined mass of the close pair is 1.63 solar masses.

    Using the 10-meter Keck I telescope in Hawaii, Konacki noticed evidence for a planet orbiting the primary star. This newfound gas giant is slightly larger than Jupiter and whirls around its central star in a 3.5-day orbit. A planet so close to its star would be very hot.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 14, 2005 #2
    Cygnus is one of my very favorite constellations! Maybe I can con my friends U of MI to see if we can find it! There scope my not be powerful enough, but it will give me a good reason to bug them. :tongue: It normally just takes a batch of chocolate chip cookies.
  4. Jul 15, 2005 #3
    Planet with 3 suns

    Abstract: Astronomers have detected a planet outside our solar system with not one, but three suns, a finding that challenges astronomers' theories of planetary formation.
    More :

    -- AI
  5. Jul 15, 2005 #4


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Wow... theres one hell of a place for solar panels ;)
  6. Jul 15, 2005 #5
    How long will this planet be in a stable orbit?
  7. Jul 15, 2005 #6
  8. Jul 15, 2005 #7


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Merging threads.
  9. Jul 16, 2005 #8
    Sorry for the dupe! :redface:

    My thoughts exactly!! :biggrin:

    From TA,
    It will remain stable for a long time to come i guess.

    -- AI
  10. Jul 16, 2005 #9
    Anyone know how close the planet is to the main star? It says one orbit is completed in 3.5 days, and I was wondering what the relative velocity of that orbit is?
  11. Jul 16, 2005 #10


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    orbit 6.9 million km radius
    Orbital velocity 143 km/sec
  12. Jul 17, 2005 #11
    Thanks :smile:
  13. Jul 17, 2005 #12
    I'm having a hard time picturing that. Previous post make it sound as though the planet is in the middle of the three stars orbiting its suns. That however is unlike any kind of orbit, so its three stars are in the middle and the planet is orbiting them.

    Why didn't the three stars merge to create one star when the system was forming?
  14. Jul 17, 2005 #13


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    The planet is orbiting very close to the largest of the stars, and the stars mutually orbit each other. (the point they orbit is located between the stars).

    The planet is 6.7 million km from the star it orbits, and this star is about 1.4 billion km from the other two stars or about 209 times further.
  15. Jul 17, 2005 #14
    That is very strange. So does the planet orbit all three planets at once?
  16. Jul 17, 2005 #15

    The planet orbits the main star, the other 2 stars orbit the same star but much further away.

    Consider our sun with a jupiter sized planet orbiting 5 times closer than mercury. Then the other 2 stars orbit each other as they travel around the main star from a distance equivalent to saturns orbit in our system. The planet orbits between the main star and the 2 orbiting stars.
  17. Jul 17, 2005 #16
    It seems uncharacteristic for a star to orbit another star. I would have thought the planet would follow a figure eight pattern around all three stars. The orbit would be massive if that were the case.

  18. Jul 17, 2005 #17
    Why is it uncharacteristic? :confused:
    Doesn't our moon orbit the earth and not a figure-eight pattern around us the sun and say Jupiter?
  19. Jul 17, 2005 #18


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    It happens all the time, they're called binary star systems.

    The planet is so close to the primary star and the other two stars are so far away, that their respective effect on the planet is very small.
  20. Jul 25, 2005 #19
    Man, if intellegent life could ever evolve on a planet like that I wonder how their civilization's religion and mythologies would be like.
  21. Jul 25, 2005 #20
    lol more then likely.."the sons of Gods"
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?

Similar Discussions: Planet discovered in 3-star system
  1. Planets and Stars (Replies: 10)