Tuesday, August 16, 2016
Newly discovered planet has 3 suns
If you thought Luke Skywalker's home planet, Tatooine, was a strange world with its two suns in the sky, imagine this: a planet where you'd either experience constant daylight or enjoy triple sunrises and sunsets each day, depending on the seasons, which happen to last longer than human lifetimes.
Such a world has been discovered by a team of astronomers led by the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona, using direct imaging. The planet, HD 131399Ab, is unlike any other known world - on by far the widest known orbit within a multi-star system.
Located about 340 light years from Earth in the constellation Centaurus, HD 131399Ab is believed to be about 16 million years old, making it one of the youngest exoplanets discovered to date, and one of very few directly imaged planets. With a temperature of 850 Kelvin (about 1,070 degrees Fahrenheit or 580 degrees Celsius) and weighing in at an estimated four Jupiter masses, it is also one of the coldest and least massive directly imaged exoplanets.