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Tuesday, Sep 02nd

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Planet with four suns discovered by volunteers

Planet with four sunsAstronomers have found a planet whose skies are illuminated by four different suns - the first known of its type. The distant world orbits one pair of stars and has a second stellar pair revolving around it.

The discovery was made by volunteers using the Planethunters.org website along with a team from UK and US institutes; follow-up observations were made with the Keck Observatory.
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The planet, located just under 5,000 light-years away, has been named PH1 after the Planet Hunters site.

It is thought to be a "gas giant" slightly larger than Neptune but more than six times the size of the Earth.

"You don't have to go back too far before you would have got really good odds against one of these systems existing," Dr Chris Lintott, from the University of Oxford, told BBC News.

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