Two telescopic images side by side of a distant star system. Left shows blue dust rings and right features a peculiar gap

Research in Brief: UNLV Astronomers May Have Discovered First Planet to Orbit 3 Stars

Potential discovery of a circumtriple planet has implications for bolstering our understanding of planet formation.

An image of GW Orionis, a triple star system with a mysterious gap in its surrounding dust rings. UNLV astronomers hypothesize the presence of a massive planet in the gap, which would be the first planet ever discovered to orbit three stars. The left image, provided by the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) telescope, shows the disc’s ringed structure, with the innermost ring separated from the rest of the disc. The observations in the right image show the shadow of the innermost ring on the rest of the disc. UNLV astronomers used observations from ALMA to construct a comprehensive model of the star system. (Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), ESO/Exeter/Kraus et al.)

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