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Astronomy

Found Tatooine, We Have

By Keith Cowing
September 15, 2011
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From Star Wars to Science Fact: Tatooine-like Planet Discovered, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
“Although cold and gaseous rather than a desert world, the newfound planet Kepler-16b is still the closest astronomers have come to discovering Luke Skywalker’s home world of Tatooine. Like Tatooine, Kepler-16b enjoys a double sunset as it circles a pair of stars approximately 200 light-years from Earth. It’s not thought to harbor life, but its discovery demonstrates the diversity of planets in our galaxy.”
Tatooine-Like Planet Discovered, Carnegie Institution for Science
“A planet with two suns may be a familiar sight to fans of the “Star Wars” film series, but not, until now, to scientists. A team of researchers, including Carnegie’s Alan Boss, has discovered a planet that orbits around a pair of stars. Their remarkable findings will be published Sept. 16 in Science.”
NASA’s Kepler Discovery Confirms First Planet Orbiting Two Stars
“Unlike Star Wars’ Tatooine, the planet is cold, gaseous and not thought to harbor life, but its discovery demonstrates the diversity of planets in our galaxy. Previous research has hinted at the existence of circumbinary planets, but clear confirmation proved elusive. Kepler detected such a planet, known as Kepler-16b, by observing transits, where the brightness of a parent star dims from the planet crossing in front of it.”

NASA Watch founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.