A team of amateur astronomers has discovered a gas giant planet, roughly the size of Neptune and located at 5000 light years from Earth, that is in orbit around four suns.
Yes, four suns. Star Trek fans have long been used to binary systems, and indeed, they are fairly common as there have been several detected in recent years. However, unlike in Star Trek, binary sun systems have extremely low odds of featuring planets as the gravitational forces involved would more likely turn them into rings around the two stars, rather than simply keeping any planet of decent size intact.
Imagine how low then, the odds of discovering a gas giant orbiting four suns might be, yet the study describes just that. Don’t think of it as four suns gathered together with a planet orbiting them though, the system is configured with two, binary star systems, total of four stars, orbiting one another, and the planet is actually orbiting one of the two binary star systems, which in turn makes it spiral around the other binary star system in a corkscrew manner.
The astronomers are surprised that the gravitational forces involved in a four star system such as this one, don’t tear the planet named PH1 apart. Star Trek fans aren’t so surprised though as they suspect that the Ferengi, an evil planetary shield system and somehow, Jeri Ryan are involved.