A team of astronomers from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and San Diego State University have announced the discovery of a planet with two suns, just like Tatooine from Star Wars…
According to a report from the San Diego State University Newscenter (via Fox News), a newly found planet, named Kepler-1647 b, has two suns just like Tatooine from Star Wars — the home of Anakin and later, Luke Skywalker.
In the report, SDSU states that this new and fascinating planet is located 3,700 light years from Earth, and is thought to be similar in age to our planet, which scientists estimate is around 4.4 billion years old.
Artist’s impression of the simultaneous stellar eclipse and planetary transit events on Kepler-1647 b. This double eclipse event is known as a Syzygy. (Art credit: Lynette Cook)
"“The planet’s double-star system contains one star that is slightly larger than the Earth’s sun, and one that is slightly smaller, according to the team.”"
SDSU also speculates that it takes the planet — Kepler-1647 — about 1,107 days to orbit its host stars, which is just over three-years. That marks the longest confirmed period for an exoplanet to orbit its suns.
An exoplanet is a planet that orbits a star outside the solar system.
SDSU astronomer, William Welsh — who also co-authored the study — had this to say about the rare find:
"“The transits are not regularly spaced in time and they can vary in duration and even depth…[Kepler-1647 b] is important because it is the tip of the iceberg of a theoretically predicted population of large, long-period circumbinary planets.”"
There you have it, planets from the imagination of George Lucas, much like Tatooine, can exist in our known universe. Another fun fact about Kepler-1647: The planet is made up of gases, similar to Jupiter…or Bespin — another Star Wars planet — where Cloud City is located, and which was introduced in The Empire Strikes Back.
Now, if only we were able to observe Kepler-1647 orbiting its two suns, while listening to Binary Sunset. John Williams makes even science better.