Scientists discovered a unique trio of stars TIC 470710327 in a major development

A unique trio of stars was discovered earlier this year, according to researchers at the University of Copenhagen’s Niels Bohr Institute. They found a system with two stars around each other and a third, more massive star circling the pair. The study was released in June’s issue of the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

“As far as we know, it is the first of its kind ever detected. We know of many tertiary star systems (three star systems), but they are typically significantly less massive. The massive stars in this triple are very close together – it is a compact system,” Alejandro Vigna-Gomez, a postdoc at the Niels Bohr International Academy and the study’s corresponding author, made the comment in a press release.

At the system’s centre, a binary pair of two stars are circling each other, and their combined mass is twelve times that of the sun. The orbital period of the binary is also about equivalent to one day on Earth. Much while it appears as though the binary at the centre is made up of some huge stars, the tertiary star is even more enormous because it has a mass that is roughly 16 times that of the Sun.

The binary pair’s inner orbit is circular, and the tertiary star orbits the system nearly six times annually. When you take into account the size of the stars in the system, this is pretty rapid. When the extremely bright system was first discovered, it was previously believed to be only a star binary.

However, a group of amateur astronomers discovered something unexpected while reviewing a piece of open data from NASA’s TESS (Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite) telescope. What was previously believed to be two stars turned out to be three stars because they noticed some irregularities in the detection.

The researchers investigated various hypotheses regarding how the system might have developed. They also got to the conclusion that there may have been two initial binary systems that formed before one of the binary systems combined to generate the big tertiary star after running over 100,000 computer simulations.




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