The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), NASA’s Kepler space telescope (a satellite tasked with locating extrasolar planets) has found the largest circumbinary planet to date, Kepler-1647b as NASA Discovers Largest Exoplanet Kepler Tatooine Planet In Space with Two Suns.
The Exoplanet Kepler-1647 is the largest planet to be discovered that orbits two suns and Planets that orbit two suns are called circumbinary.
The planet Kepler-1647b, which is nearly identical to Jupiter in both size and mass. The planet is expected to be roughly similar in appearance. But it is much warmer: Kepler-1647b is in the habitable zone.
Such planets are often referred to by scientists (and space opera fans) as “Tatooine” planets, since they orbit two suns, like Luke Skywalker’s home planet of Tatooine in the Star Wars series.
At the time Luke Skywalker walked into the double sunset, however, no real circumbinary planets had been confirmed. Several have been found since, and scientists hope that Kepler-1647b is the herald of even more exciting discoveries to come.
This planet is unique because it is the size of Jupiter, while previously discovered Tatooine planets have been found to be Saturn-sized or smaller. It also orbits its stars at a much greater distance than most known circumbinary planets—a factor that made it difficult to track. Kepler-1647b takes nearly three Earth years to orbit its suns, one of which is slightly larger and the other slightly smaller than our own. But its long orbital period means that Kepler-1647b falls within the habitable zone, the distance at which it could hold liquid water.
Luke did not really live there, because unfortunately, Like Jupiter, Kepler-1647b is a gas giant. It has no rocky terrain, like the fictional Tatooine.
However, if it has any moons, they would be within the habitable zone as well. Maybe Kepler-1647b is not our only hope as there are others.
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