Feeds

Planet hunters double down with FOUR-STAR SYSTEM

Amateurs pluck nugget from Kepler data

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

A group of amateur astronomers trawling through the vast store of data captured by the Kepler spacecraft has helped turned up a gem: a planet orbiting a double star, with another two stars in a more distant orbit.

The discovery was made by Planethunters.org which, led by Yale University, lets “citizen scientists” (aren’t scientists citizens? - Reg) comb through the data. The new discovery has since been confirmed by the professionals.

The “circumbinary planet in a four-star system” has been designated PH1, and hailed for its “wow-factor” by NASA Kepler scientist Natalie Batalha at Ames Research Centre. She also lauded the “exemplary human cooperation – cooperation between scientists and citizens who give of themselves for the love of stars, knowledge, and exploration.”

So, what is PH1? – It’s probably a gas giant, at six times Earth’s radius it’s a little larger than Neptune, with a 137-day orbital period about the two stars at the centre of its system. The other binary pair is a long way out: around 1000 astronomical units – AUs – from the system’s centre.

The Planethunters say its mass is more difficult to pin down: “being in such a complicated system didn’t help”, but it’s no more than half the mass of Jupiter, making it certain that the object is a planet and not another star (since it wouldn’t have enough mass to ignite).

The Planethunters blog post identifies Kian Jek and Robert Gagliano as having made the initial discovery, with transits of the planet observed by Hans Martin Schwengeler, Dr Johann Sejpka and Arvin Joseff Tan.

In this post, Jek and Gagliano outline the discovery process.

The discovery has been submitted to the Astrophysical Journal. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Voyager 1 now EIGHTEEN LIGHT HOURS from home
Almost 20 BEEELION kilometres from Sol
Ex-Soviet engines fingered after Antares ROCKET launch BLAST
Speculation rife, but Orbital claims it's too early to tell
MEN: For pity's sake SLEEP with LOTS of WOMEN - and avoid Prostate Cancer
And, um, don't sleep with other men. If that's what worries you
Jim Beam me up, Scotty! WHISKY from SPAAACE returns to Earth
They're insured for $1m, before you thirsty folks make plans
ROGUE SAIL BOAT blocks SPACE STATION PODULE blastoff
Er, we think our ISS launch beats your fishing expedition
NASA: Spacecraft crash site FOUND ON MOON RIM
'What fun!' exlaims NASA boffin who found the LADEE
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
BAE points electromagnetic projectile at US Army
Railguns for 'Future fighting vehicle'
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.
The Heartbleed Bug: how to protect your business with Symantec
What happens when the next Heartbleed (or worse) comes along, and what can you do to weather another chapter in an all-too-familiar string of debilitating attacks?