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Sunday, July 10, 2016

HD 131399Ab: ‘My Three Suns’

(Image by Till Credner)

A mere 320 lights years away, a 16-million-year-old planet named HD 131399Ab is orbiting its three suns.

Located within the constellation Centaurus, this multi-star system boasts “triple sunrises and sunsets each day,” depending upon the season.  The planet itself has quite a stable flight path, considering its multiple gravitational influences.

Which just goes to show that slow and steady wins the race.  This steady planet is slow to orbit its main sun, taking 600 years for one revolution.

If the orbit were to swing from one star to another, HD 131399Ab could be “slingshotted” right out of its current system.  Astronomers at the European Southern Observatory in Chile might better enjoy the triple-sun show while they can.


Copyright July 10, 2016 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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