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News Release Archive:

News Release 493 of 959

July 10, 2003 02:00 PM (EDT)

News Release Number: STScI-2003-19

Oldest Known Planet Identified

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Image: Ancient Planet in a Globular Cluster Core

Ancient Planet in a Globular Cluster CoreSTScI-PRC2003-19a Artist's Concept

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ABOUT THIS IMAGE:

A rich starry sky fills the view from an ancient gas-giant planet in the core of the globular star cluster M4, as imagined in this artist's concept. The 13-billion-year-old planet orbits a helium white-dwarf star and the millisecond pulsar B1620-26, seen at lower left. The globular cluster is deficient in heavier elements for making planets, so the existence of such a world implies that planet formation may have been quite efficient and common in the early universe.

Object Names: B1620-26, M4

Image Type: Artwork

Illustration Credit: NASA and G. Bacon (STScI)

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