Tatooine located by NASA!

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by Doctor Q, Sep 15, 2011.

  1. Doctor Q Administrator

    Doctor Q

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #1
    NASA has found the first planet in a binary star system, i.e., a planet with two suns like the planet Tatooine in Star Wars. For now it's named Kepler-16b.
    Link

    The two stars at the heart of the system are some 200 light years from Earth in the constellation Cygnus. The larger, yellow star is 69 percent as massive as the sun and the smaller red star is 20 percent as big. Kepler-16b orbits the system's center of mass every 225 days.

    "Sometimes, the red star would set first, sometimes the orange star, sometimes they'd set touching each other, sometimes set together. So you'd get this very dynamic sunset. It's never two sunsets are the same."​
    It sounds like fun place for tourists to visit. But, as the news story points out, it's not in a habitable zone.
     
  2. steve2112 macrumors 68040

    steve2112

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    Location:
    East of Lyra, Northwest of Pegasus
    #2
    Well, I bet the "experts" said the same thing about Tattooine before the moisture farms were built! :D
     
  3. JKK photography macrumors regular

    JKK photography

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2009
    #3
    Uninhabitable to life as we know it…

    The Sphere could be proven non-fiction yet! ;)
     
  4. EricNau Moderator emeritus

    EricNau

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2005
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #4
    It's interesting that Kepler-16B is the Kepler Mission's 21st confirmed exoplanet, but the first confirmed exoplanet in a binary system. About one-third of all solar systems are binary star systems, so I would have expected a ratio nearing 1:3, not 1:21! I wonder if planets with two stars are more difficult to detect.
     
  5. danpass macrumors 68020

    danpass

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2009
    Location:
    Miami, FL
    #5
    You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. We must be cautious.
     
  6. Eldiablojoe macrumors 6502a

    Eldiablojoe

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2009
    Location:
    West Koast
    #6
    As long as Luke keeps the evaporators running, just for one more season.
     
  7. Doctor Q thread starter Administrator

    Doctor Q

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #7
    My non-educated guess is that planets can't form or survive as easily in a binary system. If they are far enough away they "think" they have one sun at the pair's center of gravity, but if they are formed closer in they probably get tossed about, pulled apart, or suffer some other unceremonious death at an early age, leaving a smaller percentage of planets for binary systems.

    * * *

    I found an expert opinion.
     
  8. appleguy123 macrumors 603

    appleguy123

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2009
    Location:
    15 minutes in the future
    #8
    Isn't there a hypothesis that our sun is a binary star, and that other star's rotations contribute to the mass extinctions on Earth that seem to happen every 26 million years?

    Okay, I found it, and that hypothetical star is called Nemesis. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nemesis_(hypothetical_star)
     
  9. rhett7660 macrumors G4

    rhett7660

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Location:
    Sunny, Southern California
    #9
    Sweet.. add a death star to the mix and who knew that George Lucas was telling a story that was actually true!!!:D
     
  10. gyorpb macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2011
    Location:
    Amsterdam
  11. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2008
    Location:
    The Far Horizon
    #11
    Interesting post, OP, and thanks for posting it. I've read the expert opinion and it really is fascinating.
     
  12. laserbeam273 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2010
    Location:
    Australia
    #14
    Nice post! That's fascinating! Had a bit more of a look about the star on Wikipedia:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kepler-16b

    And the key issues are that the temperature is 170-200 K, and it's also half solid, half fluid as it's a gas planet. I figure the temperature issue can be fixed with some effective global warming usage, but making a planet bigger than the earth purely solid could be tough. Maybe by the time we reach it we'll have the technology to do that! ;)
     

Share This Page