Thursday, 18 October 2012
Astronomers have identified a giant gas planet, located just under 5,000 light-years away, that its sky is illuminated by four different suns.
According to the report published in Astrophysical Journal, the planet named PH1, after the Planet Hunters site, is slightly larger than Neptune and about six times the size of Earth.
Two US volunteers, Kian Jek of San Francisco and Robert Gagliano from Cottonwood, Arizona, discovered PH1 using the Planethunters.org website.
The discovery was later confirmed by a team of space experts using the Keck telescopes on Mauna Kea, Hawaii.
The recently discovered planet orbits one pair of stars and is in turn circled by a second pair. As a result, a total of four stars light up its sky, the astronomers explained.
Systems orbiting pairs of stars or binary star systems have been found earlier, but none of these systems were reported to have another pair of stars circling them at the same time.