Researchers from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in US have announced the discovery of an exoplanet in a stable orbit around a star, occupying a triple star system.
While it was known that the planet has three stars or in other words three suns, this new discovery marks the first time it has been established that planet has three stars serving as its sun, instead of one.
The triple-star system offers a unique opportunity for scientists trying to comprehend how gas giants, such as KELT-4Ab, manage to revolve so close to their star.
The system consists of a main bright star known as KELT-4A and a binary pair of stars known as KELT-4B and KELT-4C jointly called KELT-4BC. The existence of the KELT system was known to researchers for several years, but it was thought that the binary stars were actually just one star.
Two robotically controlled telescopes on two different continents- Arizona and South Africa helped scientists identify that they were actually a binary system. Collectively they are known as the Kilo degree Extremely Little Telescope (KELT), which is how the KELT system got its name.
KELT-4ab isn't the only planet which has three suns in our universe. The HD 1885Ab star system is very similar to what study lead Jason Eastman and colleagues have discovered. However, KELT-4ab is only 210 parsecs away, making it the closest planet with a three-sun system discovered so far.