Share

News Release Archive:

News Release 1 of 55

September 22, 2016 10:00 AM (EDT)

News Release Number: STScI-2016-32

Hubble Finds Planet Orbiting Pair of Stars

September 22, 2016: Two is company, but three might not always be a crowd, at least in space. When astronomers found an extrasolar planet orbiting a neighboring star, a detailed analysis of the data uncovered a third body. But astronomers couldn't definitively identify whether the object was another planet or another star in the system.

Now, nine years later, astronomers have used ultra-sharp images from the Hubble Space Telescope to determine that the system consists of a Saturn-mass planet circling two diminutive, faint stars in a tight orbit around each other. The system, called OGLE-2007-BLG-349, resides 8,000 light-years away. Astronomers teased the signature of the three objects using an observational technique called gravitational microlensing. This occurs when the gravity of a foreground star bends and amplifies the light of a background star that momentarily aligns with it. The particular character of the light magnification can reveal clues to the nature of the foreground star and any associated planets.

See the rest:

Science Credit: NASA, ESA, and D. Bennett (GSFC)

Artist's Concept Credit: NASA, ESA, and G. Bacon (STScI)