Exoplanet with Three Suns Discovered Using KELT
An exoplanet with three suns was recently discovered by a group of scientists from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics using the Kilodegree Extremely Little Telescope (KELT).
KELT is a set of two small telescopes located in South Africa and Arizona.
According to the study published in the Astronomical Journal, the newly discovered planet, named KELT-4Ab, is an inflated, transiting hot Jupiter. This exoplanet orbits the brightest star of the hierarchal triple stellar system.
Christian Science Monitor reported that the host star of KELT-4Ab, dubbed KELT-A, is the largest host star in the three-star exoplanetary system.
The two other suns are smaller twin stars named KELT-4B and KELT-4C, or collectively known as KELT-4BC.
KELT-4Ab completes its orbit around KELT-4A within three days, while KELT-4BC orbits around KELT-4Ab once every 4,000 years.
On the other hand, KELT-4BC orbit each other every 30 years.
KELT-4Ab is very close to its host star making it a "hot Jupiter," which is very uncommon for a giant gas planet.
"Hot Jupiters aren't supposed to exist. None of them," said Jason Eastman, a research associate at the center and the study's lead author, in space.com.
"Gaseous planets the size of Jupiter are supposed to form much farther out [from their parent star] and stay there, like our own Jupiter did," he added.
There is no solid surface in KELT-4Ab.
KELT-4A would appear 40 times as large as our sun appears from the Earth when you are looking at it from its atmosphere. The KELT-BC would be almost as bright as a full moon.
According to Microcap Magazine, the KELT-4 system was already discovered in the past, but it was only until recently that researchers realized that it has a triple-star nature.
As of date, KELT-4Ab is the only the fourth planet discovered to have a stable orbit within a multi-star system.