Citizen Astronauts Discover First Planet With Four Stars

Published:7:04 am EDT, October 17, 2012| Updated:9:44 am EDT, October 17, 2012|

Astronomers rejoice: TPM reports the first planet ever to be discovered in a quadruple star system was recently mapped by the crowdsourcing projects known as Planet Hunters, a scientific website designed to let "citizen astronauts" help sift through astronomical data.

Situated some 3,200 light years from Earth the planet, named "PH1" due to the fact it was the first planet ever to be discovered by the Planet Hunters program, is a gas giant roughly six times the size of Earth and orbits a binary star system. Around those two stars then orbit another binary star cluster, making PH1 the first quadruple star system discovered to house a planet.

While scientists are still pouring over all the data the discovery of PH1 marks a landmark occasion for many people — both in challenging our conceptions about astronomy (previously it was never thought possible that a planet could form in such conditions) and secondly by proving that crowdsourcing projects can be a valuable asset to the scientific community.

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