The Planet with Two Suns

Astronomers studying exoplanets have found one with a very odd system. It orbits two stars! There have been planets discovered that orbit one of two binary stars, or that orbit a star and a burned-out star, but this one actually orbits around two real stars. The planet is named Kepler-16, meaning it was discovered by data gathered from the orbiting Kepler observatory. However, astronomers have already nicknamed it Tattooine, after the double-sun planet where Luke Skywalker grew up.
And while there are two stars involved in heating the planet, their light is pretty feeble. Even at its distance of a little over 100 million kilometers (65 million miles) from the pair — roughly the same distance at which Venus orbits the Sun — Kepler-16b is cold: the temperature at its cloud tops (assuming it’s a gas giant like Saturn) would be at best -70°C (-100°F).

So any visions you have of Luke Skywalker standing in the desert with his leg resting on a rock while he wistfully watches the two suns set in the west may have to wait. Even if the planet has a big moon (which these observations cannot yet detect) conditions there would be a bit chillier than on Tatooine. More like Hoth.

Read more about it, including more Star Wars puns, at Bad Astronomy Blog. Link

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