In the constellation Orion, a star system called GW Ori stands 1300 light-years from Earth, surrounded by a massive disk of dust and gas. It aroused the interest of astronomers for various reasons, but the most remarkable of them is that this is a three-star system, not one.
The mystery doesn’t end there either: GW Ori’s disk is divided into two, resembling Saturn’s rings, if there was a huge gap between them, and the outer ring is tilted about 38 degrees.
Scientists speculate that the gap in the disk may be caused by the formation of one or more planets in the system, and if so, it would be the first known planet to orbit about three stars simultaneously, according to European Southern Observatory (ESO) press release.
Now, a team of astronomers have modeled the GW Ori system in more detail and according to the findings they have published in Monthly notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, a gas planet as massive as Jupiter, is the best explanation for this huge void in the dust cloud. We still can’t observe the planet directly, but it can actually just orbit its salad.
There is another explanation that the gravitational torque of the stars clears the space in the disk, but researchers in the new study say there is not enough turbulence in the disk to support this theory.
What would it be like to be there?
If the planet could sustain life, and you could somehow travel through deep interstellar space to reach the gas giant, you wouldn’t actually be able to see the three stars in the sky, as Star Wars might have made you believe. reports the New York Times. Rather, you would only see a couple because the two innermost stars orbit so close together that they look like a single point of light. However, as the planet rotates, you will see the stars rise and fall in magnificent sunrises and sunsets that look like nothing that can be seen on any other known planet.
The question of whether the planet exists is still under discussion, but observations from the ALMA telescope and the Very Large Telescope in Chile in the coming months may provide an answer.