Two suns are better than one

Date:27 February 2012 Tags:, , ,

Astronomers call it a circumbinary planet; Star Wars fans are calling it Tatooine, after the Skywalkers’ home planet. SETI Institute researchers, using data from Nasa’s Kepler space telescope, found a planet about 200 light-years from Earth that is orbiting two stars – the first of its kind confirmed. Periodic dips in the stars’ brightness allowed astronomers to calculate that a planet about the size of Saturn completes an orbit of the two-star system every 229 days.

Video: Click From Star Wars to science fact: Tatooine-like planet discovered to watch an animation of the gas giant planet Kepler-16b orbiting a pair of stars about 200 light-years from Earth.