COSMIC SECRETS
Extra Solar Planets
New Planets Discovered
HD 188753
This Planet Has Three Suns
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Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Three Suns
ABC Science Online
Friday, 15 July 2005

This land of the three suns shouldn't be there at all, if we believe current models of how planets form. In a scenario out of Star Wars, astronomers have detected a planet outside our solar system with three suns, a finding that challenges theories of planetary formation.

The planet, a gas giant slightly larger than Jupiter, orbits the main star of a triple-star system known as HD 188753 in the constellation Cygnus (The Swan). The stellar trio and its planet are about 149 light-years from Earth and about as close to each other as our Sun is to Saturn, a US astronomer reports in the latest issue of the journal Nature. If you stood on the planet's surface, you would see three suns in sky, although its orbit centres around the main yellow star among the trio, according to the research. The larger of the other two suns would be orange and the smaller one red.

Dr Maciej Konacki, from the California Institute of Technology, refers to the new type of planets as "Tatooine planets" after Luke Skywalker's home planet, which also had multiple suns, that appeared in the original Star Wars film.

This planet has three suns - Friday, 15 July 2005

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