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Space & Astronomy

New 'Tatooine' planet is largest ever found

June 14, 2016 | Comment icon 2 comments

The planet was discovered in orbit around two stars in the constellation Cygnus. Image Credit: NASA
Astronomers have revealed the discovery of a Jupiter-sized exoplanet in a distant binary star system.
Known as Kepler-1647b, this distant world, which is situated 3,700 light-years away, has an orbital period of three years and is the largest extrasolar planet with two suns ever discovered.

Its informal status as a 'Tatooine' planet stems from the famous scene of Luke Skywalker watching the double sunset outside his home in the original 1977 Star Wars movie.

It was discovered by a team of scientists headed up by Dr. Veslin Kostov of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center who used the Kepler Space Telescope to study its irregular transit pattern.
"Finding circumbinary planets is much harder than finding planets around single stars," said study co-author Professor William Welsh of San Diego State University. "The transits are not regularly spaced in time and they can vary in duration and even depth."

Despite being around the same age as the Earth, Kepler-1647b is certainly very different in terms of size given that it has almost the same mass and radius as Jupiter.

While there is virtually no possibility at all that the planet itself can support life, its moons, like those of Jupiter, could be a particularly good place to look for habitable environments.

Source: Astronomy Magazine | Comments (2)

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by carolinacottontail 6 years ago
I think it would be cool if it is named after Tatooine!  Just Sayen...
Comment icon #2 Posted by paperdyer 6 years ago
Well it is in a galaxy far, far, away.

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