Planetary polyamory: Exploring a planet 'reared' by four parent stars


Aww, just like the end of Three Men and a Baby.

Except without all those icky ethical issues like “what kind of a horrible mother would just abandon her child to the roommates of a father who hadn’t even been informed that said child existed?”

Who do these uppity planets trying to change the age-old definition of ‘family’ think they are? This shit ain’t natural!!

It’s actually kind of tough to get planet formation around multiple stars, since most potential orbits are unstable. The planet kind of has to stick close to one star. Also, reared?

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Most, yes. But there are sometimes isolated stable configurations:

Those are pretty, but they look like exact solutions to an equation that, if even slightly perturbed, would grow more and more unstable, in other words, chaotic systems. Most systems with more than two bodies are like that.

Speaking as someone with more parents than that planet, I would agree with you. In fact, these astrophysicists might want to consider learning how complex human families do it, to get a different understanding of how stable instability works (or doesn’t).

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