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A planet with two suns ... something straight out of Star Wars

In a press release seemingly from a science fiction movie, a recently discovered planet about 200 light years from Earth reportedly orbits two different suns.  This is the first time researchers have witnessed a planet with two stars, but researchers aren't surprised at this discovery.    

The Kepler 16b planet has two suns that orbit one another in 35 days.  If a person visited Kepler 16b, they would be greeted by a sky that featured two prominent stars -- and circles both stars in 229 days.  

SETI researchers don't believe that life exists on Kepler 16b, but are anxious to learn more about Kepler 16b.  The planet itself likely is extremely dense, and is close to the size of Saturn, researchers say.

Kepler 16b's larger sun is almost 70 percent the size as the Earth's sun, while the smaller star is closer to 20 percent.  The planet and its celestial bodies are able to form a proper system because they are an appropriate distance from one another, so there doesn't appear to be a risk of the planet collapsing into one of its stars.

When Tatooine was first shown in Hollywood, there was immediate doubt as to whether or not a similar planet would be found.  

"It's possible that there's a real Tatooine out there," said John Knoll, Industrial Lights and Magic visual effects supervisor, in a statement.  "Kepler 16b is unambiguous and dramatic proof that planets really do form around binaries."

The findings were published in Science, and were made using the Kepler space telescope.  The Kepler program aims to continue searching for planets similar to Earth that also orbit stars, along with studying how many stars have bodies currently orbiting them.



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Our Binary System
By SiliconJon on 9/16/2011 10:55:50 AM , Rating: 2
Maybe we can derive some data from studying this binary system to work towards mapping our own theoretical binary companion, which is even more difficult for two reasons: paradigm paralysis, and it's easier to look about the solar system through our far more clear sol north and south windows than peering through the debris loaded solar equatorial regions. Here's some of what we have on the matter already, though.

A wide-binary solar companion as a possible origin of Sedna-like objects
http://www.ucs.louisiana.edu/~dpw9254/Sedna_like.p...

Sun Has Binary Partner, May Affect The Earth
http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Sun_Has_Binary_P...

Persistent Evidence of a Jovian Mass Solar Companion in the Oort Cloud
http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewsr.html?pid=33991

And to go to Walter Cruttenden's own website where he lays out his favorite factors that point to the existence of our own binary companion :

http://www.binaryresearchinstitute.org/

Cue the "debunker" who says it can't possibly be true (or that the idea is ludicrous) because some people claim that, despite having been there all along, this binary companion is all of the sudden going to destroy us all, or because mainstream science doesn't say it could be so, therefore it could not be so. (some compositional fallacy or appeal to popularity)




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