17 September 2012

Exoplanets: First planets found in Beehive Cluster

M44 / Praesepe Globular cluster
PASADENA, Calif. -- NASA-funded astronomers have, for the first time, spotted planets orbiting sun-like stars in a crowded cluster of stars. The findings offer the best evidence yet that planets can sprout up in dense stellar environments. Although the newfound planets are not habitable, their skies would be starrier than what we see from Earth.

The starry-skied planets are two so-called hot Jupiters, which are massive, gaseous orbs that are boiling hot because they orbit tightly around their parent stars. Each hot Jupiter circles a different sun-like star in the Beehive Cluster, also called the Praesepe, a collection of roughly 1,000 stars that appear to be swarming around a common center.

Read more on NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory web site HERE
Link to Praesepe Globular Cluster (M44) on wikipedia HERE

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