Astronomers using the telescope TESS discovered a system of six stars, which exists by its own unique rules.
Scientists called it TIC 168789840 and recorded the discovery on the preprint repository arxiv.org. The system is 1,900 light years away from Earth and consists of three twin pairs of stars orbiting three different centers of mass. At the same time, all six objects are gravitationally connected to each other.
The stars in the detected system rotate in a plane perfectly aligned with the Earth. For this reason, astronomers observe individual stars becoming brighter and dimmer, obscuring each other from Earth’s viewers.
Scientists used to think that the formation of systems with more than four stars was unlikely, but TIC 168789840 has become the third known multistellar system. Astronomers still don’t know how such systems form.