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Astronomers discover 1st planet with 4 suns

Published on Oct 16, 2012 10:46 AM
 

WASHINGTON (AFP) - An international team of amateur and professional astronomers on Monday announced the discovery of a planet whose skies are lit up by four suns - the first reported case of such a phenomenon.

The planet, located about 5,000 light years from Earth, has been dubbed PH1 in honor of Planet Hunters, a programme led by Yale University in the United States (US) which enlists volunteers to look for signs of new planets.

PH1 is orbiting two suns, and in turn is orbited by a second distant pair of stars. Only six planets are known to orbit two stars, researchers say, and none of those are orbited by other distant stars.

"Circumbinary planets are the extremes of planet formation," said Yale's Meg Schwamb, lead author of a paper presented Monday at the annual meeting of the Division for Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society in Nevada.

 
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