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Old 23-02-14, 23:16   #1
 
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Oh Crap! VIDEO - Our Sun has a Twin!

Our Sun has a Twin! Rare Star home to Three Super Hot Planets is Discovered 2,500 Light Years away

  • One of the planets orbits a star similar to our sun once every 6.9 days
  • This is the first solar twin in a cluster that has been found to have a planet
  • Scientists now believe that planets in open star clusters are as common as they are around isolated stars - but they are not easy to detect
  • This may have implications for finding an Earth 2.0 with a sun like our own
By Daily Mail UK


Over a thousand exoplanets have so far been found, and the discoveries are coming thick and fast.
But the recent find of three super-hot worlds in a stellar city 2,500 light years away has got astronomers particularly excited.
One of the new exoplanets is orbiting a star that is a rare solar twin - a star that is almost identical to our sun in all respects.




Astronomers have used ESO's HARPS planet hunter in Chile, along with other telescopes around the world, to discover three planets orbiting stars in the cluster Messier 67. Pictured here is an artist's impression of what one of the planet's with a sun like our own might look like



This is the first solar twin in a cluster that has been found to have a planet, and scientists claim there could be many more.
Astronomers know that most stars form out of giant gas clouds in clusters. But up until now, they haven’t found many planets orbiting stars in clusters.

The planet is thought to be about one-third the mass of Jupiter and orbits the star once every 6.9 days. Its surface is likely to be hotter than a blast furnace.
The planet, and two others, orbit stars in the open cluster M67, which scientists believe is four billion years old – around the same age as the Earth and the sun.





This chart shows the location of the star cluster Messier 67 in the constellation of Cancer (The Crab).


This map shows most of the stars that are visible to the unaided eye under good conditions, and the location of the cluster is highlighted with a red circle on the image. This object can be spotted with binoculars and many of its component stars seen with a moderate-sized telescope


THE M67 STELLAR CLUSTER

Messier 67 (also known as M67 or NGC 2682) is an open stellar cluster in the constellation of Cancer.
Age estimates for the cluster range between 3.2 and 5 billion years.
Only few known open clusters were found to be older, among them probably NGC 188 at about 5 billion years.

M67 is the nearest old open cluster, and has become a standard example for studying stellar evolution.
The cluster has more than 100 stars similar to the sun, and countless red giants.

The total star count has been estimated at well over 500.
The recent finding revealed the first solar twin in a cluster that has been found to have a planet.


Only a handful of planets have been found orbiting stars so similar to the sun - such as HD 187123 and HD 86226 - but none in a cluster.
The finding shows that stars just like the sun can form planets and that they can do so even when in a stellar cluster, where it’s relatively crowded.
Anna Brucalassi from the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, Garching, Germany, and lead author of the new study, said her team wanted to find out more.
‘In the Messier 67 star cluster the stars are all about the same age and composition as the sun.
‘This makes it a perfect laboratory to study how many planets form in such a crowded environment, and whether they form mostly around more massive or less massive stars.’
The team used the HARPS planet-finding instrument on ESO's 3.6-metre telescope at the La Silla Observatory.
They carefully monitored 88 selected stars in M67 over a period of six years to look for the tiny tell-tale motions of the stars towards and away from Earth that reveal the presence of orbiting planets.
Many of the cluster stars are fainter than those normally targeted for exoplanet searches and trying to detect the weak signal from possible planets pushed HARPS to the limit.
‘These new results show that planets in open star clusters are about as common as they are around isolated stars - but they are not easy to detect,’ said Luca Pasquini, from the European Southern Observatory.
‘The new results are in contrast to earlier work that failed to find cluster planets, but agrees with some other more recent observations,’ he added.
‘We are continuing to observe this cluster to find how stars with and without planets differ in mass and chemical makeup.’





Messier 67 (also known as M67 or NGC 2682) is an open stellar cluster in the constellation of Cancer. Age estimates for the cluster range between 3.2 and 5 billion years


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