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article imageInteresting exoplanet discovered

By Tim Sandle     Jan 17, 2014 in Science
A new exoplanet, about a third the mass of Jupiter, which circles a sun-like star in about five days, has been discovered. The planet is of great interest to astronomers.
At first hand, the discovery may not seem much different from the other 1,000 or so exoplanets identified to date. However, the new planet, called YBP1194b, orbits a twin of the sun in the Messier 67 star cluster, according to Sci News. The cluster, which is about 2,500 light-years from Earth in the constellation Cancer, has about 500 stars with roughly the same age and chemical composition as the sun.
An exoplanet, or extrasolar planet, is a planet outside the Solar System. As of 4 November 2013, the Kepler mission space telescope has detected 3,568 candidate planets. Around 1 in 5 Sun-like stars have an "Earth-sized" planet in the habitable zone, so the nearest would be expected to be within 12 light-years distance from Earth.
What is of interest to astronomers is that these results are the first to identify a planet orbiting a solar twin in a star cluster. The data gathered also confirms that planets are equally common in star clusters and around loner stars.
The discovery has been reported in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, in a paper titled “Three planetary companions around M 67 stars”.
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