A New Exoplanet Was Just Discovered & It Has 3 Suns

Centaurus is one of the largest constellations in the night sky. At 340 light-years away, it houses some of the brightest star clusters in the southern sky, too. Among those stars, a new exoplanet has recently been discovered and there’s something very unique about it. The exoplanet, which has been dubbed HD 131399Ab, has three suns.

HD 131399Ab, which was spotted by the European Extremely Large Telescope in the Chile, is about three times the size of Jupiter. According to Engadget, it takes about 550 Earth years for the giant to make one trip around its star system. For half of that time, all three suns are visible from the exoplanet's surface. You'd think that would make the planet's surface pretty damn bright, but actually, if you stood on its surface, Space.com says the three suns would appear only as bright as Earth's full moon. This is because the sun closest to HD 131399Ab is far away — about twice the distance between our sun and Pluto.

The three suns that make up this exoplanet's star system include the creatively named (that's sarcasm there) Star A, Star B, and Star C. Star A, which is the closest to HD 131399Ab, is roughly 7.8 times brighter than Earth's sun. The other two, Star B and Star C, orbit one another while simultaneously orbiting around Star A. All that happens while HD 131399Ab orbits the three of them. That sounds like some very complicated interstellar choreography.

Check out this video to get a better idea of exactly how it all works and what this discovery means.

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