NASA Discovers First Planet That Orbits On Two Suns
16. September 2011
Scientific movies are generally imaginary and fictitious. There are numerous movies, in which the directors introduced many new planets that never seen before. About 30 years ago, in a movie based on space science named ‘Star Wars’, the director depicted a world that had two Suns. Who knew that, it would come true one day? Yes, the scientists of National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) have detected a ‘circumbinary planet’ that is orbiting on two Suns.
The planet is situated about 200 light-years from earth and was discovered by the NASA’s space observatory spacecraft Kepler that observed the transits. It is NASA’s first mission that can find the ‘Earth-size’ planets in or near the habitable zone. Laurance Doyle of Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute in Mountain View, California, along with his team has been researching for transiting planets using the information of more than 150000 stars recorded by the Kepler space telescope, according to the science release of NASA.
NASA named the newly detected planet as ‘Kepler-16b’. The planet ‘Tatooine’, described in the movie Star Wars, was very hot and desert type planet. However, the Kepler-16b is cold, gaseous and it is not suitable for the existence of human beings, according to the science news. By the telescope, the scientists measured the size, confirmed that Kepler-16b is about the size of Saturn, and thought to be made up of about half rock and half gas. The two parent Suns are much smaller than our Sun. Among them, one is 69 percent and other is 20 percent the mass of our Sun. The planet rounds the Suns every 229 days.
“This discovery confirms a new class of planetary systems that could harbor life. Given that most stars in our galaxy are part of a binary system, this means the opportunities for life are much broader than if planets form only around single stars. This milestone discovery confirms a theory that scientists have had for decades but could not prove until now,” said William Borucki, Kepler principal investigator.
Scientific discoveries always show the stunning and impressive things that we dare imagine. There is no doubt, the new discovery of the planet show the diversity of planets in our galaxy. This will help the scriptwriters and scientists find the new way to think more broadly about the outer space.