Triply eclipsing solar system discovered by Kepler spacecraft

“This movie shows the dynamical evolution of the KOI-126 system over the time of the Kepler spacecraft observations used in the determination of the system parameters. The thin top panel shows the three stars (A, B, and C) relative to the barycenter of the system as viewed from an observer situated in the plane of the orbit of (B,C) about A. The top right panel shows the action from the frame centered on A, while the lower right panel is in the frame centered on the center of mass of (B,C). The large yellow star is KOI-126 A, and the smaller salmon-colored and red stars are KOI-126 B and C, respectively. Sizes and distances are to scale; however, fluxes are not. The moving time series shows the total flux from all three stars. The gray points are actual data.” Supplementary information from the paper Joshua A. Carter et al., “KOI-126: A Triply Eclipsing Hierarchical Triple with Two Low-Mass Stars,” Science Express, Published Online 11 January 2011.

“The Kepler spacecraft has been monitoring the light from 150,000 stars in its primary quest to detect transiting exoplanets. The authors have reported on the detection of an eclipsing stellar hierarchical triple, identified in the Kepler photometry. KOI-126 (A, (B, C)), is composed of a low-mass binary (masses MB = 0.2413 ± 0.0030 M☉, MC = 0.2127 ± 0.0026 M☉; radii RB = 0.2543 ± 0.0014 R☉, RC = 0.2318 ± 0.0013 R☉; orbital period P1 = 1.76713 ± 0.00019 days) on an eccentric orbit about a third star (mass MA = 1.347 ± 0.032 M☉; radius RA = 2.0254 ± 0.0098 R☉; period of orbit around the low-mass binary P2 = 33.9214 ± 0.0013 days; eccentricity of that orbit e2 = 0.3043 ± 0.0024). The low-mass pair probe the poorly sampled fully convective stellar domain offering a crucial benchmark for theoretical stellar models.”

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