Newly discovered alien planet has three Suns in its sky

A recently found exoplanet using Kilodegree Extremely Little Telescope (KELT) has three Suns in its sky. Though scientists know a number of planets with two Suns, the case of a planet with three bright stars in its sky is uncommon.

The newly discovered far away world, called KELT-4Ab, orbits a single star, and that star in turn is orbited by a close pair of stars.

A new study has revealed that the twin stars are sufficiently close to the planet to look as bright as the sky’s full moon is.

Besides coming up as an example of a solar system quite distinct from our planet, the odd arrangement could shed some light over the evolution of gas giants present close to their parent star, called ‘hot Jupiters’.

KELT-4Ab is nearly as massive as Jupiter. It orbits the single star KELT-A every three days. Close to it, the stars KELT-B and KELT-C travel around each other once in every three decades. Jointly they orbit KELT-A and its planet every 4,000 years or so.

Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics research associate Jason Eastman is the main author of a study that has identified the system, including the single star KELT-A, the far away pairing KELT-BC and the extremely hot planet. The study has used two robotic telescopes that were used in making the Kilodegree Extremely Little Telescope (KELT), and are present in Arizona and South Africa, respectively.

So far, the composition of the planet’s atmosphere isn't known, but while speaking to, Eastman said that present in the atmosphere above the planet, the single star would look nearly 40 times larger than what the sun appears in the sky on our planet.

The binary star pair’s each member would be nearly as bright as the full moon, however, they would look like dots of light present at a distance of small-finger-width from each other in the sky, without a good telescope.