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Astronomers have discovered a rare system of four gravitationally connected eclipsing stars

05.06.2018
Science, Space

The inhabitants of the Earth are used to the fact that every morning in the sky only one sun rises. An international group of astronomers discovered a system consisting of two pairs of gravitationally connected stars, so that one of the local exoplanets, if any, in the sky can be seen at once four "suns."
The study is aimed at publication in the British scientific journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Systems consisting of a pair of stars are not uncommon. Moreover, about half of the stars in our galaxy, according to scientists, are just part of such dual systems. So an exoplanet with two "suns" in the sky, like the fictional Tatooine from the movie Star Wars, really should be pretty much. This is, for example, the real planet Kepler-16 b in the constellation Cygnus.

Triple systems are also encountered, but less often. They usually consist of a pair of closely spaced stars and a more distant satellite star.

But the systems of four stars at once, as detected this time, come across quite infrequently. But the present find is very rare, because the system consists not just of four stars, but of two pairs of so-called eclipsing stars, where one periodically passes in front of the other relative to the observer, causing an eclipse, as a result of which their overall brightness constantly fluctuates.

The system, which was called EPIC 219217635, is located at a distance of 2.8 thousand light years from the Earth. In each pair, one of the stars is larger than our Sun: in one case by 20%, and in the other by 30%. The second component in both cases is less - 0.74 and 1.04 of the radius of the sun, respectively.

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