Scientists discover giant planet orbiting star

Posted on Sunday, Sep 17 2006 @ 09:55 CEST by Thomas De Maesschalck
Scientists reported earlier this week that they have discovered an unusually large and light planet orbiting a start that could force them to reexamine theories about how planets are formed.
The planet, dubbed HAT-P-1, is roughly one-third larger than Jupiter but only weighs half as much, astronomers with the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics said.

The planet is about one-quarter the density of water, Harvard-Smithsonian fellow Gaspar Bakos in a statement.

"It's lighter than a giant ball of cork," he said.

HAT-P-1 revolves around its parent star once every 4.5 days in an orbit one-seventh of the distance from Mercury to the Sun, according to Bakos and other Smithsonian astronomers.

Its parent star, one of a double-star system, is about 450 light-years from Earth.
More details at Reuters.

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Thomas De Maesschalck

Thomas has been messing with computer since early childhood and firmly believes the Internet is the best thing since sliced bread. Enjoys playing with new tech, is fascinated by science, and passionate about financial markets. When not behind a computer, he can be found with running shoes on or lifting heavy weights in the weight room.

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