Team behind the discovery of a planet with three stars retracts their paper

(ORDO NEWS) — An international team of researchers that published an article in Science in 2016 about the discovery of an exoplanet with three stars has now abandoned it.

In their original paper, the team described their work using direct imaging technology to study the triple star system HD 131399. They spotted an exoplanet they thought was about four times the size of Jupiter.

They also noted its strange orbital system – the planet revolves around one of the stars, while the other two stars are further away.

After the article was published in 2017, another international team of researchers found evidence that the planet was not a planet after all – in their opinion, the data obtained a year earlier were from a background object, possibly a dwarf star.

In their paper, published in The Astronomical Journal, they also noted that it was much more likely that the object was something unusually fast moving in the background along a trajectory that coincided with the HD 131399 star system.

This finding led the original team of researchers to re-evaluate their previous work and then begin observing the HD 131399 star system over an extended period of time. This allowed them to take pictures of the star system in motion.

They found “a clear difference in parallax between the object and HD 131399” – confirmation that the light from what they thought was a planet in 2016 was actually coming from a much greater distance than light from the stars in the system, ruling out the possibility that the light was coming from a planet in that system. Instead, the light most likely came from something far more distant in the background.

The researchers told members of the press that their work highlights the risk associated with stationary background assumptions in star systems and that they hope their experience will help improve astronomy. All authors of the original article agreed to have their paper retracted.


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