GW Orionis

Fictional Tatooine supposedly has two suns. The Real World triple star system GW Orionis appears to demonstrate that planets might form in such a system and orbit in multiple planes. All the planets and moons in our Solar System orbit in nearly the same plane.

GW Orionis has three prominent stars, a warped disk, and inner tilted rings of gas and grit. This animation of the GW Ori system was derived from observations with the ESOy’s VLT and ALMA telescopes. The first part takes a long view of the entire system. The second sequence moves inside the tilted rings to show the three central co-orbiting stars. Computer simulations indicate that multiple stars in GW Ori might eventually warp and break-up disks into unaligned, exoplanet-forming rings.

Video Credit: ESO / Exeter / Kraus et al. / L. Calçada