Ancient Planet in a Globular Cluster Core
February 9, 2005
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.
Topics: Environment, Scorpius constellation, Globular cluster, Planetary science, PSR B1620-26 b, Messier 4, Millisecond pulsar, White dwarfs, Star cluster, Star, Planet, Gas giant, ancient gas-giant planet, Core, M-16, artist