Sunday, June 25, 2023

Twin Suns

 From Space:

For decades, astronomers wondered if planets with twin suns like Luke Skywalker's fictional home world of Tatooine were only science fiction. Now, scientists have now discovered a new Tatooine-like system that is home to multiple worlds. Binary stars, or two stars orbiting each other, are very common — about half of the sun-like stars in the Milky Way galaxy are in binary systems. Up to now, astronomers had confirmed the detection of 14 circumbinary planets — ones that whirl around both stars of a binary system at once.

"Circumbinary planets were originally thought not to exist, since the binary stars stir up the planet-forming disks, creating a harsh environment for planets to form," study lead author Matthew Standing, an astrophysicist at the Open University in England, told "This all changed with the discovery of Kepler-16b in 2011 by the Kepler space telescope. This discovery showed that it must be possible for these planets to form." (Read more.)

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