I'm thinking a quadruple stars system where a binary star system orbits another but more massive binary star system is probably fine, however so far I never encounter binary planets orbiting triple star system. Would it be realistic to find one out of billions and billions of galaxies and stars?

  • $\begingroup$ I wasn't the one who downvoted, but "does not show any research effort" fis well. $\endgroup$ – Mołot Oct 6 '16 at 8:02
  • $\begingroup$ @Molot: no worry about the votes I agree it is part of a membership deal, thanks for the comment anyway. $\endgroup$ – user6760 Oct 6 '16 at 8:39
  • $\begingroup$ You mention both trinary stars + binary planets, and quadruple stars in pairs. I'm not sure what the one has to do with the other. Could you clarify your question? $\endgroup$ – Monica Cellio Oct 7 '16 at 22:07

Stable structures have a hierarchical binary structure.

However, not every slot has to be populated.

So, the closest thing to what you describe would be (planet,(star,(star,star))) (see figure e).

So technically you would say the planet is in orbit around a binary system, and it happens that one of its members is itself binary.

Beyond that, you need the spacing to be such that the binary components are compact and/or distant enough so the lumpiness is not a problem. That means each level in the hierarchy is much larger. Then, the neighbors and galaxy at large and galactic tides cause disruptive effects.

So, the planet might not be stable in orbit around the distant stars, but get grabbed by other passing stars or perturbed by outside forces.

  • $\begingroup$ I would like a reference about stellar hierarchical binary structures bring stable. It seems non intuitive to me. $\endgroup$ – kingledion Oct 7 '16 at 0:17
  • $\begingroup$ How did you develop an intuition about multi-body gravitational interaction? Does it reveal how sligshot works and reveal the Oberth effect? $\endgroup$ – JDługosz Oct 7 '16 at 7:45
  • $\begingroup$ Obligatory xkcd reference for “intuitive”. $\endgroup$ – JDługosz Oct 7 '16 at 8:04

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.