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‘First of its kind’ triple star system likely swallowed up 4th star

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Artist’s interpretation of the quadruple-star system HD 98800. the newly discovered triple star system, known as TIC 470710327, has a very similar structure except the outer pair of stars orbiting the central binary pair have merged into a single star.
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An artist’s interpretation of the quadruple star system HD 98800. The newly discovered triple star system, known as TIC 470710327, has a very similar structure, except that the outer pair of stars orbiting the central binary pair have merged into a single star. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA)

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Astronomers have discovered a triple star system that is unlike any seen before. The unusual trio of stars is much more massive and closely compressed with each other than a typical triple system, which may be due to the fact that star triples used to have a fourth brother before one of the others swallowed it up.

The triple, or tertiary, star system is known as TIC 470710327 and was discovered by researchers using data from NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) observatory, which is in orbit. Earth. The trio has a hierarchical structure, which means that a pair of binary stars orbit each other at the center of the system, while a third star orbits the central pair.

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