Six Stars Orbit Each Other in the Only Known Sextuple System #SpaceSaturday

It would be nice to imagine that somewhere Nicolaus Copernicus, Johannes Kepler, and Galileo Galilei are laughing their heads off about system TYC 7037-89-1. Together they created, developed, and promoted the notion that the Earth goes around the Sun. At the risk of their very lives, these scientists dared to change the way we look at the heavens. Now astronomers at NASA have discovered a system that has six suns circling each other. In system TYC 7037-89-1 three sets of binary stars are in orbit around each other, around each other — that is, they’re around each other, twice. Here’s more from Astronomy Now:

The primary stars in all three binaries undergo periodic eclipses, passing in front of each other as viewed by TESS. The changing light curves show all three primary stars are slightly more massive than the sun, but about as hot. The secondary stars are roughly half the size the Sun.

The two stars making up the A binary orbit each other every 1.3 days while the stars in binary C orbit each other every 1.6 days. The A and C binary systems, in turn, orbit each other every four years. The two stars in the B system orbit each other every 8.2 days, but they take about 2,000 years two complete an orbit around the sextuple system’s center of gravity.

See and learn more!

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