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'Tatooine-Like' Planet Found With 4 Suns

Astronomers discover world about 5K light-years away
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 15, 2012 4:25 PM CDT
Amateur Skywatchers Spot Planet With 4 Suns
An artist's rendering of planet PH1.   (Haven Giguere/Yale)

(Newser) – Luke Skywalker would not consider this a big deal, but some of us earthlings are getting excited. Astronomers have discovered a Tatooine-like planet that orbits two suns and is also orbited by two other stars, Space.com reports. Called PH1, the gas giant is about six times bigger than Earth and resides roughly 5,000 light-years away in a planetary system with four stars—the first ever discovered, the Independent reports.

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"It's fascinating to try and imagine what it would be like to visit a planet with four suns in its sky, but this new world is confusing astronomers," says one astronomer. "It's not at all clear how it formed in such a busy environment." A pair of amateur US skywatchers spotted the alien world in a project called Planet Hunters, launched by Yale University to help professional and armchair astronomers delve into data collected by NASA's Kepler telescope. (Read more astronomy stories.)

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