Researchers Discover A Surprising Triple Star System

Researchers Discover A Surprising Triple Star System”

Fortunately, although this illusion was only recently discovered, GW Orionis has been under surveillance since 2008, and was the third star in the system. The innermost ring looks nearly circular because it is viewed face-on, but the two outer rings are viewed at an angle and appear oval.

Using the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope (ESO's VLT) and the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA, ) a team of astronomers found the first direct evidence that stars can tear apart the planet-forming, or circumstellar, disc that surrounds them.

That outer ring is the largest we've ever seen in a protoplanetary system; for comparison, Pluto's average distance from the Sun is 39.5 astronomical units.

A view from a potential planet around this system will give the observer a stunning view of a tilted, multiple stellar constellation - similar to Star Wars' Tatooine, reports the University of Exter team.

The Sun is a single star, while many stars were formed in sets of two or more.

The three stars do not orbit in the same plane. If it is found, it will be the first ever planet to be observed in a triple star system and, it would likely have a rather unusual orbit.

To reach these conclusions, a team from the Universities of Exeter and Leicester observed stellar system GW Orionis for over 11 years and mapped the orbit of the stars with unprecedented precision. The third star, GW Orionis C, orbits its two siblings at a distance of roughly 8 AU. The radii of the rings are 46, 188, and 336 au. This means that all of the planets orbit around the sun in the same plane. Our images show an eccentric ring that is misaligned with the orbital planes and the outer disk.

The team estimated that the dust masses of the rings are 75, 170, and 245 Earth masses. "We think that the presence of a planet between these rings is needed to explain why the disk was torn apart", said astronomer Nienke van der Marel of the University of Victoria.

The ALMA image of GW Ori shows another interesting feature.

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A separate team of researchers from an earlier study published in The Astrophysical Journal in May had suggested another possible reason for the warp. "But the odd warp in the disk is confirmed by a twisted pattern that ALMA measured in the gas of the disc".

The team performed a computer simulation to investigate how the gravity of the central triple star affects the rings. The simulation revealed that the stars had torn apart their disc themselves due to their conflicting gravitational pull, with each one pulling on the disc in a different direction.

"This planet has likely carved a dust gap and broken the disk at the location of the current inner and outer rings".

When Luke Skywalker emerges from his home at dusk on the planet Tatooine in "Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope", he watches twin suns setting in the sky. "I believe that research on the diversity of exoplanets will continue to make progress in the future".

An worldwide team of experts, led by the astronomers at the University of Exeter, identified GW Orionis where planet formation might take place in inclined dust and gas rings within a warped circumstellar disc around multiple stars based on observations with the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope (VLT), Georgia State University's Center for High-Angular Resolution Astronomy telescope array (CHARA), and the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA).

By combining the techniques of interferometry and polarimetry, they identified the misaligned inner ring and imaged the shadow that it casts on the rest of the disc.

That could be the view from a potential planet orbiting in the GW Orionis system, according to new research. It consists of three rings, wrapped around three stars - and all three rings have different trends, which are incorrectly placed internally from the other two.

"We're really excited that our new MIRC-X imager has provided the sharpest view yet of this intriguing system and revealed the gravitational dance of the three stars in the system".

A cloud of dust and gas swirling around a galaxy system 1,300 light-years away is like a planetary disk we haven't seen yet. We present observations of the triple star system GW Orionis, finding evidence for disk tearing.

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