Saturday, September 24, 2011

Tattoine Found...

A young Luke Skywalker stares out over the dusty planet Tatooine in this film still from the movie, "Star Wars."

A planet orbiting a dual star system is just like the dusty 'Star Wars' home world of Luke Skywalker, according to a research team from Carnegie Mellon. And while many planets have been suspected of having two suns, this newfound planet is the first “circumbinary" planet confirmed by astronomers.

“This is the first definitive case,” Alan Boss, one of the researchers who made the discovery, told

“People in the past have thought they saw instances like this. But there are other ways of explaining them. This is the first one where it’s absolutely, quantitatively sure that this is what the explanation is.”

But if it were possible to live on the planet, Boss says the sunsets and sunrises would be spectacular.

“It would change from day to day because the stars orbit around themselves every 41 days,” Boss told “So every time you look at them, they’re going to be in a different configuration in the sky. Sometimes they would be close together, sometimes they’ll be far apart. And when sunrises and sunsets occur, sometimes they’ll be quite widely spaced in time and sometimes they’ll go up and down almost simultaneously.”

The planet's discovery was an unintentional consequence of the prime mission of NASA’s spacecraft Kepler. Launched in 2009, Kepler’s goal has been to survey portions of the galaxy in search of Earth-sized planets orbiting stars like the one in our solar system...

Star Wars Come True? Tatooine-Like Planet Discovered
Loren Grush
September 15, 2011

No comments: