NEW DISCOVERY: First-Ever Planet With Four Suns Discovered

Published On: October 16, 2012, 6:10 am
Author: franel
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-- (m) at 16-10-2012 06:10AM

(9958 | Hero)

«§» 16 October 2012

Astronomers have found a planet whose skies are illuminated by four different suns - the first known of its type.

The new planet - a gas giant - is about six times the size of Earth

The distant world orbits one pair of stars and has a second stellar pair revolving around it.

The discovery was made by volunteers using the website along with a team from UK and US institutes; follow-up observations were made with the Keck Observatory.

A scientific paper has been posted on the Arxiv pre-print server.

The planet, located just under 5,000 light-years away, has been named PH1 after the Planet Hunters site.

It is thought to be a "gas giant" slightly larger than Neptune but more than six times the size of the Earth.

"You don't have to go back too far before you would have got really good odds against one of these systems existing," Dr Chris Lintott, from the University of Oxford, told BBC News.

"All four stars pulling on it creates a very complicated environment. Yet there it sits in an apparently stable orbit.

"That's really confusing, which is one of the things which makes this discovery so fun. It's absolutely not what we would have expected."

Binary stars - systems with pairs of stars - are not uncommon. But only a handful of known exoplanets (planets that circle other stars) have been found to orbit such binaries. And none of these are known to have another pair of stars circling them.

Follow-up observations were made with the Keck facility on Mauna Kea

Asked how this planet remained in a stable orbit whilst being pulled on by the gravity of four stars, Dr Lintott said: "There are six other well-established planets around double stars, and they're all pretty close to those stars.

"So I think what this is telling us is planets can form in the inner parts of protoplanetary discs (the torus of dense gas that gives rise to planetary systems).

"The planets are forming close in and are able to cling to a stable orbit there. That probably has implications for how planets form elsewhere."

PH1 was discovered by two US volunteers using the website: Kian Jek of San Francisco and Robert Gagliano from Cottonwood, Arizona.

They spotted faint dips in light caused by the planet passing in front of its parent stars. The team of professional astronomers then confirmed the discovery using the Keck telescopes on Mauna Kea, Hawaii.

Founded in 2010, aims to harness human pattern recognition to identify transits in publicly available data gathered by Nasa's Kepler Space Telescope.

Kepler was launched in March 2009 to search for Earth-like planets orbiting other stars.

Visitors to the Planet Hunters website have access to randomly selected data from one of Kepler's target stars.

Volunteers are asked to draw boxes to mark the locations of visible transits - when a planet passes in front of its parent star.

Dr Lintott points out: "Computerised attempts to find things [in the data] missed this system entirely. That tells you there are probably more of these that are slipping through our fingers. We've just stuck a load of new data up on to help people find the next one."

Searching for such systems, he said, was "a complicated test to hand a computer", adding: "We're using human pattern recognition, which can disentangle that reasonably well to see the important stuff."

Since December 2010, more than 170,000 members of the public have participated in the project.

Source: BBC News

-- mallorca (m) at 16-10-2012 09:49AM
(20417 | Addicted Hero)

Quote from: soul2020 on 16-10-2012 09:12AM
What i want to know is if the planet is save to live in as earth?
Grin Grin Grin Grin ask the poster

-- mallorca (m) at 16-10-2012 09:50AM
(20417 | Addicted Hero)

Oyibo don go far far

-- lanudja (f) at 16-10-2012 10:02AM
(8711 | Hero)

Planet wit four(4) sun na disaster naa... when earth with one(1) dey almost roast us Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy
-- lakman (m) at 16-10-2012 10:19AM
(982 | Upcoming)

story story story american can not deceive me again, since they lie to us that they went to the moon
-- dizhadah (f) at 16-10-2012 11:14AM
(2255 | Gistmaniac)

-- jessymic (f) at 16-10-2012 11:21AM
(949 | Upcoming)

ok noted and waiting for the next discovery
-- Bettygirls (f) at 16-10-2012 11:56AM
(4008 | Gistmaniac)

planet with four suns?Huh?Huh?Huh????hmmmm
-- chicco77 (f) at 16-10-2012 12:32PM
(21893 | Addicted Hero)

-- jamesbondchick (f) at 16-10-2012 12:58PM
(3643 | Gistmaniac)

Huh? Four suns? Shocked which one nigerian leaders dey discover na?

-- Neglito (m) at 16-10-2012 01:00PM
(4184 | Gistmaniac)

Where is my weed?
-- vicklove (f) at 16-10-2012 01:20PM
(2735 | Gistmaniac)

nawa ooh Shocked Shocked Shocked Shocked Shocked
-- ZION7ZION (m) at 16-10-2012 01:21PM
(1943 | Gistmaniac)

Quote from: jamesbondchick on 16-10-2012 12:58PM
Huh? Four suns? Shocked which one nigerian leaders dey discover na?
Easiest way to steal public funds
-- SENTIMAL (m) at 16-10-2012 01:27PM
(224 | Upcoming)

-- neloceleb (f) at 16-10-2012 01:48PM
(545 | Upcoming)

-- cadanre (f) at 16-10-2012 01:56PM
(9185 | Hero)

A new thing.

-- dlimelite (f) at 16-10-2012 02:00PM
(13808 | Hero)

-- verah (f) at 16-10-2012 02:40PM
(5188 | Gistmaniac)

r  people living on that planet?  Roll Eyes Roll Eyes Roll Eyes

-- verah (f) at 16-10-2012 02:42PM
(5188 | Gistmaniac)

Quote from: lanudja on 16-10-2012 10:02AM
Planet wit four(4) sun na disaster naa... when earth with one(1) dey almost roast us Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy
morning fr deir na sun, afternoon na sun, even na sun, middle of d nite sef go b sun... i dey sure say na sun disease go kill dem fr dat planet person wey go live dere   Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy

-- ela214 (f) at 16-10-2012 03:35PM
(2968 | Gistmaniac)

i dey wait make them find the i wey person fit live.make i relocate Grin Grin
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