Skip to comments.NASA Spacecraft Discovers Planet Orbiting 2 Suns, Just Like Star Wars
Posted on 09/16/2011 9:18:07 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach
>Ames Research Center, Circumbinary Planet, Matt Bigler, Mountain View, NASA, NASA Ames, Star Wars, Tatooine, Two Suns
MOUNTAIN VIEW (CBS SF) The National Aeronautics and Space Administrations Kepler spacecraft has found a planet that orbits two stars just as Luke Skywalkers home world does in the Star Wars movies, NASA announced Thursday.
An orange sun and a red sun that actually orbit each other define daytime on Kepler 16b, the 21st planet outside our own solar system discovered by planet hunter.
KCBS Matt Bigler Reports:
The resemblance between the newest exo-planet and the fantasy world Tatooine envisioned by George Lucas ends on the horizon, said scientists at the NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View.
Kepler 16b is a cold, gaseous planet similar to Saturn.
(Excerpt) Read more at sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com ...
The tidal forces on those planets must be enormous. Also bet that the orbits are not stable. Hot for a while and cold for a while.
Sometimes I wish I could have been born about 100 years in the future. Just imagine what we will find when we finally get out there to some of these systems. Meteorites made of solid gold-platinum-palladium. Planets with 10 moons visible in the night sky. Planets where there are Lobsters the size of Elephants and plenty of Lemons and Butter. And Hush Puppies.
Sky and Telescope article says the orbit is stable, at least on a time scale of millions of years, or else it wouldn’t be around today. Tidal forces would be an interesting topic. The planet’s orbit is about 3 degrees off the orbit of the two stars, and is precessing smartly, as you might expect. In a few years, it will only transit one of the two stars and then neither, until it comes back in 2047. I can’t wait. (The nodes of the orbit will no longer fall along the line of sight to the Earth.)
As to tides, one would expect that objects in close proximitity and so deformable to be tidally locked. The motion of the planet around the stars would be quite non-keplarian, as the two lumps moved around their mutual center of gravity, but I think this would cause considerable liberation, but not a whole lotta tides. Anyway, you raise an interesting point.
Na, that’s the bloodsucking creature from that one Star Trek episode.
ROTFLMAO. After that pic I'll probably never go to a zoo again.
"...Use the FORKS"
When I first saw Star Wars in 1977 (1977??! Has it bneen that long?), I thought those were moons.
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