Researchers discover new Tatooine-like planet 65x bigger than Earth

(L-R): Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal), Peli Motto (Amy Sedaris) and Grogu in Lucasfilm's THE MANDALORIAN, season three, exclusively on Disney+. ©2023 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.
(L-R): Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal), Peli Motto (Amy Sedaris) and Grogu in Lucasfilm's THE MANDALORIAN, season three, exclusively on Disney+. ©2023 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved. /
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Astronomers have discovered a new celestial body that very closely resembles the Star Wars franchise’s favorite planet, Tatooine.

From being Anakin and Luke Skywalker’s home to Din Djarin’s regular pit stop, Tatooine is by far the most recurring planet in Star Wars. The two setting suns of the planet have become an intrinsic part of the franchise’s fan lore.

Over the years, scientists have discovered quite a few sets of binary stars, where two stars orbit each other. They are a common occurrence in our Milky Way Galaxy. To date, 14 circumbinary planets – the ones that revolve around both stars – have been found, as per space.com.

However, up until now, only one binary system was known to have more than one planet. Kepler-47, located around 5,000 light-years away from Earth in the Cygnus constellation, hosts three worlds known to mankind.

In a new study, scientists have discovered a second multi-planet binary system with about 65 times the mass of Earth, which is five times less than Jupiter’s. The newfound world is named BEBOP-1c, after the name of the project that led to its discovery.

How was BEBOP-1c discovered? Why is it being compared to Tatooine?

As per abc.net.au, BEBOP-1c was discovered accidentally. Astronomers were attempting to investigate planet TOI-1338b, orbiting the binary system TOI-1338 located 1,320 light-years away in the Pictor constellation.

European Southern Observatory and the Very Large Telescope, located in the Atacama Desert in Chile, were being used to study the planet’s mass. The mission failed, but the scientists ended up discovering a second planet, BEBOP-1c.

Like Tatooine, BEBOP-1c whirls around two suns, which means that every day the skies of the planet see two suns rise and set.

It orbits the two stars at a distance of around 79% of an astronomical unit (AU), where one AU is the average distance between the Earth and the Sun. It takes around 215 Earth days to complete a revolution around its suns.

Rosemary Mardling from Monash University School of Physics and Astronomy co-authored a study on this star system, published in Nature Astronomy. Researchers referred to Tatooine in the study, stating that BEBOP-1c’s discovery could be a ‘new hope’ in studying binary system exoplanets.

"If we are to unravel the mysteries of circumbinary Tatooine-like exo-atmospheres, the BEBOP-1 system may provide a new hope."

Further research will answer if BEBOP-1c only shares this one attribute with Tatooine, or has more similarities such as being a desert planet or home to future galactic heroes.