Friday, August 31, 2012

Tatooine May Exsist?!

Oh you Star Wars fans are going to love this one! Remember in the earlier part of the first Star Wars movie when Luke looks up into the glare of the dual suns on Tatooine? Well it seems that the Kepler space telescope has pulled another rabbit out of the hat by finding a planetary system that for all world reminds on of planet Tatooine.

Dan pointed me towards this article that details the very strange planetary system of Kepler 47. For it seems that this system of planets orbits not one but two suns!  Plus the Kepler 47 suns  are themselves orbiting each other and do so in as little a 7.5 days!  The two planets (kepler 47b & 47c) are themselves in varying degrees of odd.  47b orbits the pair of stars in less than 50 days where 47c orbits the pair every 303 days. This would put the planet in the "habitable zone," where life could possibly exist because of liquid water.

NASA announced that Kepler-47 is 4,900 light-years from Earth in the constellation Cygnus. This discovery seems to prove that planets can for in the highly unstable space around a binary star system. Plus it goes further to show that once these planets form, they can "persist" in the system for very long periods.

Astronomers found two planets in the Kepler 47 system that orbit two stars

Of course if you were standing on the surface of the "Tatooine" planet, the stars would not look very much like those out of Star Wars. One star is about the size of our sun but is only about 85% as bright. The other is very small, in the range of 1/3 the size of Sol and putting out only 1% as much energy.

Astronomers were quick to point out that two or more stars in a system are not unusual. The question to this point was, could a planet form in such an unstable system. Now they know that they can and do form.

NASA Kepler 47 article here

artwork NASA


kallamis said...

I'm good with Tatooine, no problem. But if we find someone there named Skywalker, I vote we blow it up before the smeg makes it into the galaxy. We'll get Ben, Han, and the bots. Luke stays.

Beam Me Up said...

which Skywalker are we talking about? A little bit of retroactive population control? huuuuuuuuuuum?

henryii said...

maybe we need to get there before the terminator is sent here....

Beam Me Up said...

Henryii have you done something to draw the interest of the machines?! When will you people learn!

kallamis said...

I'll take the machines over what one guy thought was a good idea. He wanted to send all the politicians there. Yeah right.
First contact, and first interstellar war, all within 5 minutes. Not a good idea.
I'll take the machines I believe. At least then we might have a chance of not being attacked.
A better chance anyway.

Beam Me Up said...

why do I hear Schwarzenegger saying I lied....wait...different movie...nevermind