First-ever planet with four suns discovery

This video is called New Planet Found in Four-Star System | Planethunters PH1 NASA Kepler Space Telescope HD Video.

From Al Jazeera:

First-ever planet with four suns discovered

Astronomers involved in programme led by Yale University find extraordinary planet 5,000 light years from Earth.

Last Modified: 16 Oct 2012 04:04

An international team of astronomers have announced the discovery of a planet whose skies are illuminated by four suns – the first known of its type.

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 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.

“The discovery of these systems is forcing us to go back to the drawing board to understand how such planets can assemble and evolve in these dynamically challenging environments.”

Gas giant

US citizen scientists and Planet Hunters participants Kian Jek and Robert Gagliano were the first to identify PH1. Their observations were then confirmed by a team of US and British researchers working in Hawaii.

PH1 is a gas giant with a radius about 6.2 times that of Earth, making it a bit bigger than Neptune. It orbits a pair of eclipsing stars that are 1.5 and 0.41 times the mass of the Sun roughly every 138 days.

The two other stars are orbiting the planetary system at a distance that is roughly 1,000 times the distance between Earth and the Sun.

The website was created in 2010 to encourage amateur astronomers to identify planets outside our solar system, using data from the US space agency NASA’s Kepler space telescope.

Kepler, launched in March 2009, is NASA’s first mission in search of Earth-like planets orbiting stars similar to our Sun.

The discovery of PH1 was made available online Monday at the site and has been submitted to the Astrophysical Journal for publication.

“It still continues to astonish me how we can detect, let alone glean so much information, about another planet thousands of light-years away just by studying the light from its parent star,” Jek said.

See also here. And here.

Earth-Sized Planet Discovered Orbiting Around Nearest Star: here. And here.

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4 thoughts on “First-ever planet with four suns discovery

  1. On “Earth-mass planet found orbiting the nearest star“

    Thank you for the article on the discovery of Alpha Centauri’s planet, which I read about in the same manner as you have described it.

    As incredible as I found the latest space dive deal, I found it frightening as well. It imitated earlier experiments conducted by NASA but this time slathered in corporate sponsorship. The extreme nature of the act was verified by Red Bull logos all over Simon Baumgartner. This was not an experiment or a test, but an advertisement. This is something we should be fearful of: this privatization of space.

    I found out recently, in true plutocratic fashion that much of NASA’s budget is now being rerouted to the private firm Space-X, who we can only presume, hope to turn a profit by doing to space what corporations are doing to the Earth. It seems there wasn’t enough money for NASA if it were only conducting research; it can be allowed to exist only as a front for private industry. Abominable. This is something we have a duty to prevent.

    Vance O
    California, USA
    25 October 2012


  2. Pingback: Astronomers searching for exomoons | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Pingback: New earth-like planet discovery | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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