Distant planet found to be orbiting two stars

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Scientists have discovered a three-body system in an area about 8,000-light years away from Earth.

According to a recent NASA news release, the trio consists of two red dwarf stars around 7 million miles apart and a planet orbiting them about 300 million miles away.

A full orbit around the pair is estimated to take about seven years to complete.

The system was first spotted in 2007 by an international team of astronomers.

David Bennett of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center is quoted as saying, "The ground-based observations suggested two possible scenarios for the three-body system: a Saturn-mass planet orbiting a close binary star pair or a Saturn-mass and an Earth-mass planet orbiting a single star."

Based on an assessment of Hubble images, researchers determined that "...the starlight from the foreground lens system was too faint to be a single star, but it had the brightness expected for two closely orbiting red dwarf stars."

Follow-up observations confirmed their suspicion.

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