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article imageAstronomers discover rare system of five stars

By Owen Weldon     Jul 9, 2015 in Science
Astronomers have discovered a system of five connected stars that is 250 light-years away. The system is the first known system of its kind.
The set of stars are binaries, closely linked stars, and they orbit around a mutual center of gravity. The findings were presented in Llandudno at the UK National Astronomy Meeting on July 8.
Designated 1SWASP JO93010.78+533859.5, the system was studied back in 2013 and it was led by Marcus Lohr, but at that time Lohr and his team thought the system only had four stars. However, researchers discovered how many stars there were after they reanalyzed the data.
The astronomers said that the stars are smaller than Earth's own sun, as well as cooler. They added that the stars produce a system that is bright enough to be seen with small telescopes from Earth.
The stars may have planets, which would be bathed in daylight for most of their years, and they would likely experience various levels of light as the suns eclipsed one another. Lohr said that in principle, there's no reason that the system couldn't have planets in orbit around each pairs of stars.
The system was initially spotted by astronomers when they were searching for regular changes in light coming from the systems. Lohr said that the system may help astronomers understand how stars and planets came into being.
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