September 15, 2011
Two suns are better than one
NASA, using their Kepler telescope, has recently discovered a planet that is orbiting two suns. This marks the first planet found to orbit around more than one star. The planet, named Kepler-16b, is an uninhabitable cold gas giant that is approximately "200 light years" away from the earth.
Scientists say that when the day ends on Kepler-16b, there is a "double sunset". These two suns weigh less than our earth's sun both individually and combined.
And it does not stop there as scientists have hinted that the planet may be orbiting around a third sun as "the brightness of the system dipped" during times when there were no observable eclipses.
For more information visit http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-14940885. You can also look at http://www.world-science.net/othernews/110915_circumbinary.htm to see an artist's rendering of what a mind blowing double sunset may look like.
Posted by davidnug at September 15, 2011 09:43 PM
Hey, this is really interesting. I just read an article on the new york times a few hours ago about this and thought that it would make for a really great discussion. As it turns out, this new planet, called Kepler-16b, is orbiting the two stars Kepler 16 A and B, but the two stars are doing something that I thought was really interesting. The center of gravity between the two stars lies in between the two of them. I thought that one star would orbit the other but it turns out that both stars are orbiting some point in space, the center of gravity between their two masses. I just assumed that the smaller star would orbit the bigger star, like a planet would, but that's not the case. This is a really big discovery in astronomy that proves just how little we actually know about the universe.
Posted by: nzingas at September 16, 2011 12:40 PM
It is not the way it orbits two suns that is incredible, but rather how this situation came to be. It must be very lucky for any planet to find a niche like that.
Posted by: wangrt at September 17, 2011 04:30 PMLogin to leave a comment. Create a new account.