This topic was created by dssf.
"Distant planet found circling with 4 stars"; Moove oover Tatooooine...
"This week, reality trumped (science) fiction with an image even more enthralling: two amateur astronomers poring through data from deep, distant skies and discovering a planet with four suns.
NASA's website calls the phenomenon a circumbinary planet, or a planet that orbits two suns.
Rare enough on its own -- only six other circumbinary planets are known to exist -- this planet is orbited by two more distant stars, making it the first known quadruple sun system.
Researchers presented the finding Monday night at the annual meeting of the Division of Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society in Reno, Nevada.
The discovery of the four-sun planet by amateur scientists takes crowd sourcing to new heights. The expression, coined by Wired magazine editor Jeff Howe, describes tasks that are outsourced to a disparate group of people to come up with a solution.
In this case, the Planet Hunters group made data from NASA's $600 million Kepler telescope available to the public through its website and coordinates their findings with Yale astronomers."
"Two U.S. citizen scientists have discovered a planet in a system with four different suns, the first known of its type, U.S. and British astronomers say.
The distant planet orbits one pair of stars while a second pair of stars orbits around it, they said.
The planet was discovered by two U.S. volunteers using the Planethunters.org website who spotted faint dips in light caused by the planet "transiting," or passing in front of, its parent stars.
U.S. and British astronomers then confirmed the discovery of the planet, thought to be a "gas giant" slightly larger than Neptune and more than six times the size of the Earth, with the Keck telescopes in Hawaii.
Astronomers say they're puzzled by how the planet avoids being pulled apart by the gravitational forces of its four stars.
"All four stars pulling on it creates a very complicated environment," Chris Lintott from thqe University of Oxford told BBC News. "Yet there it sits in an apparently stable orbit.""
Previous Register stories of strange world are at these URLs:
Interesting.. I hadn't heard about this.. 4 suns... Curious how it withstands the gravitational pull myself.
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