Scientists just discovered an ultra-rare planet in a triple-star system

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Jul 8, 2016, 10:49 AM EDT

It seems the universe will never cease to amaze, and now scientists have found a star system unlike anything they thought possible.

According to a new report in Science, a team used the Very Large Telescope in northern Chile to discover the planet HD 131399Ab. The massive planet exists within a triple-star system, meaning it’s typically so bright (since there are basically three suns) that we can almost never actually spot them to confirm their existence. 

The study’s author Kevin Wagner, who discovered the planet, told The Verge the find is arguably one of the “hardest observations” possible in modern astronomy. They pulled it off by using advanced optical techniques and actually spotted HD 131399Ab in near-infrared. Per the report, the planet seems to be a gas giant four times the mass of Jupiter, with an atmosphere of water and methane.

Even cooler? The planet’s orbit is one of the weirdest ever recorded. It travels around one star at a distance twice as wide as the span between the Sun and Pluto in 550 Earth years. For a little over half the time, the planet has a fairly typical day and night schedule (since the suns set and rise at approximately the same time) — but not all the time. There’s also a 140-year span where the planet is hit with constant sunshine.

So yeah, be sure to check the calendar and pack some sunscreen before booking a trip.

(Via The Verge, Science)