We often find star systems that have pretty weird house rules, those that have gigantic planets or those that have more than one sun. As is the case of this latest find - a star system that has three stars.
A team of astronomers from the University of Arizona discovered a watery exoplanet caught between three separate suns that wanders through the cosmos 320 light-years away from our Solar System.
Using ground-based telescopes based in the arid Atacama Desert in Chile, the astronomers were trying to find planets with incredibly vast orbits. Surprisingly, this odd system popped up first.
The study, published in Science, named the planet HD 131399Ab. Found near the Scorpius constellation and the bright star Antares, the planet has an orbit of 550 Earth years. It is directly in orbit around a star twice the size of the Sun.
The planet and the star also share the system with two stars twirling around each other. One of them is around the size of our Sun, and the other is half. They make a complete rotation every 35,000 Earth years.
The planet, four times the size of Jupiter, was scanned using near-infrared spectroscopy. This determined the presence of significant quantities of water and methane.
While being one of the coldest planets directly detected, it is still at a searing 500 plus degrees Celsius (1,000 degrees Fahrenheit), preventing water to stay in liquid form (so obviously no Earth-like life will be found here)
These images by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope show off two dramatically different face-on views of the spiral galaxy M51, dubbed the Whirlpool Galaxy.
The image at left, taken in visible light, highlights the attributes of a typical spiral galaxy, including graceful, curving arms, pink star-forming regions, and brilliant blue strands of star clusters.
In the image at right, most of the starlight has been removed, revealing the Whirlpool’s skeletal dust structure, as seen in near-infrared light. This new image is the sharpest view of the dense dust in M51. The narrow lanes of dust revealed by Hubble reflect the galaxy’s moniker, the Whirlpool Galaxy, as if they were swirling toward the galaxy’s core.