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EXO WORLDS
Sagittarius offers planet clues
by Staff Writers
Rochester, N.Y. (UPI) Jan 6, 2009


disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only

U.S. astronomers say planets may be able to form around certain types of binary star systems.

Joel Kastner of the Rochester Institute of Technology said a disk of molecules discovered orbiting a pair of twin young suns in the constellation Sagittarius suggests binary systems host planets.

"We think the molecular gas orbiting these two stars almost literally represents 'smoking gun' evidence of recent or possibly ongoing 'giant' (Jupiter-like) planet formation around the binary star system," he said in a release.

The findings are published in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics.

Kasnter's team found a large amount of raw materials for planet formation around the nearby stars, including circumstellar carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide.

"In this case the stars are so close together, and the profile of the gas in terms of the types of molecules that are there is so much like the types of gaseous disks that we see around single stars, that it's a real link between planets forming around single stars and planets forming around double stars," Kastner said.

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