Astronomers found traces of space cannibalism in an unusual star system

Astronomers found traces of space cannibalism in an unusual star system

Astronomers have studied the triple star system, which does not look like any of the previously observed, the unusual trio is much more massive, and its objects are tight together.

One theory of the system's formation is that it originally consisted of two double pairs — one that is at the center of the system that scientists are watching and the other that revolves around it. Researchers suspect that the external double pair has in the past merged into one in the space "cannibalism" process to create a single, more massive star. Based on extensive computer simulations, the team confirmed the absorption theory.

A triple, or tertiary, TIC 470710327 was detected by NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite. A trio has a hierarchical structure, which means that a pair of double stars rotate around each other in the center of the system, while a third star revolves around the central pair.

The TIC 470710327 system is different because of its size and shape. Its objects are much larger than the typical stars found in such systems. The trio is more compact because they all have a stronger gravitational pull than usual.

A double pair of stars in the center of TIC 470710327 has a total mass of about 12 times the sun's mass, and two stars take just over a day to orbit each other. The larger outer star is even more massive, with a weight of about 16 suns, and it turns around a double pair every 52 days, which "is fast enough to take into account their size", scientists point out.