Ever ridden a teacup ride at a state fair? If so, you might have a small taste of life in a whirling, twirling sextuply-eclipsing sextuple star system.
“Sextuply-eclipsing sextuple star system” is astronomer-speak for a system with six stars all orbiting each other and all regularly eclipsing one another from the perspective of Earth — and astronomers have just found one named TIC 168789840.
This six- star system is far enough from Earth (a bit less than 2,000 light-years away) that telescopes can’t resolve its individual stars, which blur together into a single point of light. Instead, astronomers were able to spot that point of light brightening and dimming in an unusual pattern, thanks to the stars’ penchant for regularly eclipsing one another.