06 September 2012
Posted in Our Planet, Our Universe
Tatooine may be the fictional home world of Anakin and Luke Skywalker, but astronomers believe this made-up world may exist more or less. Last week, the first ever multi-planet solar system was discovered circling not one, but two stars!
These stars and its planets are more than 5,000 light-years away. The new, complete solar system with twin suns resides in the constellation Cygnus. Scientists have announced these planets as Kepler-47b and Kepler-47c. The planet in the inner most part of this solar system, Kelpler-47b, orbits the twin stars in less than 50 days. Kepler-47c, which is located on the outer most part of the solar system, takes more than 300 days to travel around the stars. It has the largest known orbit than any exoplanet.
The stars themselves circle each other every 7.5 days. One of the stars is similar to our sun in size, while the second is one-third the size and much fainter. These twin stars, unlike any solar system discovered, allow there to be more than twelve hours of light in one given day.
The outermost planet, Kepler-47c, resides in the system’s habitable zone. This zone is the right temperature for liquid water to exist. Although scientists believe this planet does not contain water and is made mostly of gas, it’s still a big discovery. This finding means there is a chance for habitability in systems not yet identified.