Astronomers Scan 800 Pulsars to See If Any of Them Have Planets

Lich (PSR B1257+12) is a pulsar 2,300 ly away in the constellation of Virgo - 20 km in diameter, formed 2 billion years ago by two white dwarfs merging with each other - Has three known planets, named Draugr, Poltergeist and Phobetor - Both the first extrasolar planets and the first pulsar planets to be discovered - Draugr is the lowest-mass planet yet discovered by any observational technique (twice the mass of Earth's moon.) Image Credit: By Pablo Carlos Budassi - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Astronomers discovered the first exoplanets in 1992. They found a pair of them orbiting the pulsar PSR B1257+12 about 2300 light-years from the Sun. Two years later they discovered the third planet in the system.

Now a team of astronomers are trying to duplicate that feat by searching 800 known pulsars for exoplanets.

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