A new discovery from scientists at the University of Leeds could change how astronomers understand big stars in the Universe. Research suggests that massive Be stars, thought to exist in double stars, might actually exist in triples. Be stars have a disc made of gas and have been known for 150 years, but until now, no one knew how they formed. The new evidence from the Gaia satellite shows that Be stars exist in triple systems where three bodies interact, instead of just two. This means that a third star transfers mass to the Be star, forming the gas disc. This discovery could also impact our understanding of black holes, neutron stars, and gravitational wave sources. The team behind the discovery includes PhD student Jonathan Dodd and Professor René Oudmaijer from Leeds, along with other collaborators. They received funding from the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC). The new findings provide a clue to understanding gravitational wave sources and could change how we think about stellar evolution.

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