Scientists Discover Planet Orbiting Two Stars

Posted on September 15, 2011

Kelper 16gb

Scientists using NASA's Kepler space telescope have discovered a giant planet, Kepler-16b, that orbits two stars. Some astronomers have nicknamed the planet Tatooine, after Luke's home in the Star Wars universe. Kepler-16b takes 229 days to go around its two suns. Its two suns travel around each other every 41 days. Take a look: reports that study co-author Alan Boss at the Carnegie Institute in Washington, says, "This discovery is stunning. Once again, what used to be science fiction has turned into reality."

Laurance Doyle, an astrophysicist at the SETI Institute, is the lead author of a research paper that appears in the journal Science today, September 15, 2011.

CNN reports that astronomers expect to find more circumbinary planets in the next month or two.

Kelper 16gb

Images: NASA/JPL-Caltech

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