NASA Scientists discover giant new planet orbiting two suns
WASHINGTON, June 13 (APP): NASA Scientists discover giant new planet orbiting two suns
Astronomers have discovered the largest planet outside our solar system orbiting two stars, at a distance that would make it potentially habitable for people, scientists announced Monday.
The gaseous planet -- dubbed Kepler-1647 b -- is the size of Jupiter and has a wide orbit, revolving around its two stars in 1,107 days, or around three years.
The discovery is the eleventh of its kind since 2005.
Planets that orbit two stars -- known as circumbinary planets -- are sometimes called "Tatooines," after the similar fictional planet in the movie Star Wars where Luke Skywalker was raised.
Kepler-1647 b is further from its two stars than any other known circumbinary planet, placing it in an orbit that "puts the planet within the so-called habitable zone," a statement from San Diego State University (SDSU) said.
In theory, that would make the plant neither too hot nor too cold for human habitation, and water could exist in liquid form.
However, Kepler-1647 b is gaseous like Jupiter, making the possibility life could exist there unlikely.
Still, any large moons orbiting the planet could possibly host life.
At 4.4 billion years old, Kepler-1647 b is roughly the same age as the Earth. Its stars are also similar to the Sun, one slightly larger and the other slightly smaller, according to a research paper set to appear in The Astrophysical Journal.