Keele astronomers find new planets around twin stars

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Posted on 06 October 2014
Astronomers at Keele have found two new Jupiter-sized extra-solar planets, each orbiting one star of a binary-star system.
Most known extra-solar planets orbit stars that are alone, like our Sun. Yet many stars are part of binary systems, twin stars formed from the same gas cloud. Now, for the first time, two stars of a binary system are both found to host a ``hot Jupiter'' exoplanet.
The Keele-led WASP-South survey found tiny dips in the light of WASP-94A, suggesting that a Jupiter-like planet was transiting the star; Swiss astronomers then showed the existence of planets around both WASP-94A and then its twin WASP-94B. Since stars are often found in pairs, this increases the likelihood that nearly all stars have planets.
Professor Coel Hellier said: "WASP-94 could turn into one of the most important discoveries from WASP-South." Professor Hellier featured on BBC Radio Stoke and he and Dr Pierre Maxted were interviewed by The Sentinel regarding the discovery by the Keele Astrophysics Group.