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ALMA Discovers Misaligned Rings in Planet-Forming Disk Around Triple Stars

18 December, 2020 / Read time: 1 minute

This video shows one of the most relevant discoveries made by radio astronomy in 2020. On this occasion, the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) pointed its antennas at the GW Orionis star system, in the Orion constellation, approximately 1300 light-years away.

This system has a great peculiarity: it has a triple star. Two of them are relatively close, orbiting around its center of mass, while the third orbits them both.

ALMA observed that this complex system generated giant gas rings with atypical inclinations, where planet formation could begin. These observations allowed the scientific team to model the three-dimensional motion of this marvelous system on a computer.

Credits: National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO)