UK & World News
Hot Find: Amateurs Discover Four-Sun Planet
Two amateur astronomers have discovered a planet with four suns.
Kian Jek and Robert Gagliano spotted the body using the planet hunters website, which allows visitors to identify dips in the light produced by stars in the night sky.
The Americans spotted the effect of light from the stars being blocked as the planet moved in front of its suns.
The planet - named PH1 after the website - is believed to be six times the size of Earth and around 5,000 light years away.
A team of professional astronomers in Hawaii confirmed its existence using the Keck telescopes.
Dr Arfon Smith, from Adler Planetarium in Chicago, said: "It's an amazing discovery.
"But what's even more exciting is that, with more data currently being added to planethunters.org for anyone to explore, we really don't know what our armchair astronomers will discover next."
The find is described as unique - binary star systems have been observed but scientists are excited at the possibility of a quarternary system.
"It's fascinating to try and imagine what it would be like to visit a planet with four suns in its sky," said Dr Chris Lintott of Oxford University.
"(However), this new world is confusing astronomers - it's not at all clear how it formed in such a busy environment."
Details of the discovery are to be presented at the Division for Planetary Sciences meeting in Nevada.