TIC 168789840: A sextuply eclipsing sextuple star system

Brian P. Powell, Veselin B. Kostov, Saul A. Rappaport, Tamás Borkovits, Petr Zasche, Andrei Tokovinin, Ethan Kruse, David W. Latham, Benjamin T. Montet, Eric L.N. Jensen, Rahul Jayaraman, Karen A. Collins, Martin Mašek, Coel Hellier, Phil Evans, Thiam Guan Tan, Joshua E. Schlieder, Guillermo Torres, Alan P. Smale, Adam H. FriedmanThomas Barclay, Robert Gagliano, Elisa V. Quintana, Thomas L. Jacobs, Emily A. Gilbert, Martti H. Kristiansen, Knicole D. Colón, Daryll M. LaCourse, Greg Olmschenk, Mark Omohundro, Jeremy D. Schnittman, Hans M. Schwengeler, Richard K. Barry, Ivan A. Terentev, Patricia Boyd, Allan R. Schmitt, Samuel N. Quinn, Andrew Vanderburg, Enric Palle, James Armstrong, George R. Ricker, Roland Vanderspek, S. Seager, Joshua N. Winn, Jon M. Jenkins, Douglas A. Caldwell, Bill Wohler, Bernie Shiao, Christopher J. Burke, Tansu Daylan, Joel Villaseñor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


We report the discovery of a sextuply eclipsing sextuple star system from TESS data, TIC 168789840, also known as TYC 7037-89-1, the first known sextuple system consisting of three eclipsing binaries. The target was observed in Sectors 4 and 5 during Cycle 1, with lightcurves extracted from TESS Full Frame Image data. It was also previously observed by the WASP survey and ASAS-SN. The system consists of three gravitationally bound eclipsing binaries in a hierarchical structure of an inner quadruple system with an outer binary subsystem. Followup observations from several different observatories were conducted as a means of determining additional parameters. The system was resolved by speckle interferometry with a 0 42 separation between the inner quadruple and outer binary, inferring an estimated outer period of ∼2 kyr. It was determined that the fainter of the two resolved components is an 8.217 day eclipsing binary, which orbits the inner quadruple that contains two eclipsing binaries with periods of 1.570 days and 1.306 days. Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) analysis of the stellar parameters has shown that the three binaries of TIC 168789840 are “triplets,” as each binary is quite similar to the others in terms of mass, radius, and Teff. As a consequence of its rare composition, structure, and orientation, this object can provide important new insight into the formation, dynamics, and evolution of multiple star systems. Future observations could reveal if the intermediate and outer orbital planes are all aligned with the planes of the three inner eclipsing binaries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberabddb5
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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