Jan 15, 2014 · Astronomers have found three planets in a star cluster, and one of these planets orbits a star much like our sun.
CNN) -- It's rare for astronomers to spot a planet in a star cluster. That's partly why a cluster called Messier 67 is so special: We now know that it has three planets orbiting stars.
Even more exciting: One these planets orbits a star called YBP1194 that is so similar to our sun that scientists call it a "solar twin." The results are described in a study in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.
A solar twin is similar to the sun in mass, temperature and chemical abundances. This particular star is the first solar twin found in a cluster that has a planet, astronomers say.
The lack of planets found in star clusters before had been puzzling because, astronomers say, most stars are born in clusters. "These results demonstrate that planets can form and survive in a dense cluster environment, where strong interactions with other stars are supposed to be present," said study co-authors Anna Brucalassi and Luca Pasquini in an e-mail
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