From our partners at The Agonist
AJE, October 16
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.”