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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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ScienceShot: One Planet, Four Suns
15 October 2012 11:57 am
Ordinary people have spotted an extraordinary world: a giant planet larger than Neptune and smaller than Saturn that inhabits a star system with four suns. The citizen scientists discovered the planet by examining data from NASA's Kepler spacecraft. Professional astronomers then confirmed the find, which they submitted to The Astrophysical Journal. Named PH1, the planet goes around two of the four stars, shown close-up here: One is a yellow-white F-type star that is slightly warmer and more luminous than our sun; the other, at the 11 o'clock position, is a red dwarf, cooler and dimmer than the sun. The two stars orbit each other every 20 days. The planet is the round black dot at the 4 o'clock position. (The black splotches elsewhere are starspots.) The planet goes around the stellar duo every 138 days—slower than Mercury (88 days), faster than Venus (225 days). At the 10:30 position, a second stellar binary appears, about 30 times farther away than Pluto is from the sun. At certain times of the planet's year, those distant suns shine during the day; but at other times, they light up its night.
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