The discovery of the first alien planet with two suns — like the "Star Wars" world Tatooine — residing in its parent star’s habitable zone is good news for the search for life beyond Earth, scientists say.
The planet, known as Kepler-47c, is a gas giant and therefore probably not suitable for life as we know it. But its existence hints that smaller, rockier worlds may inhabit other two-star systems’ habitable zones —that just-right range of distances where liquid water can exist.
And that’s important, because there are a lot of binary systems out there, scientists say.
"Roughly half of the stars in the galaxy are in binary systems," study lead author Jerome Orosz, of San Diego State University, told SPACE.com. "I thought it would only be a matter of time before we found a system like Kepler-47 where a planet is in the habitable zone."
This illustration shows the orbits of the two alien planets circling two stars of Kepler-47, and the orbits of our own solar system planets for comparison.
The Kepler-47 system, whose discovery was announced Tuesday (Aug. 28), dwells about 5,000 light-years away, in the constellation Cygnus (The Swan). It is a close binary system, with two stars orbiting near each other at its center. Around these stars whirl two planets known as Kepler-47b and Kepler-47c.
They make Kepler-47 the first system seen with multiple worlds circling a pair of stars.
"If single stars and close binary stars can host planetary systems with an equal probability — that is not at all clear at the moment — then it would follow that life could be just as common on circumbinary planets as on planets with single stars," Orosz said.
Unique historic color video shows Berlin in July 1945 2015-05-06 5:38
New footage has emerged of Berlin in the aftermath of World War II. The video, filmed in July 1945, shows famous landmarks like the Brandenburg Gate and the Reichstag in ruins as ordinary citizens try to go about their everyday lives.
The video, shot around two months after the city fell in 1945, shows the utter destruction the German capital underwent ...
Universities Don't Understand Safe Spaces 2015-05-06 1:07
Youtube description: Apparently people don't understand why allowing people to grow up in a perpetual hug box is bad for them. This article's writer does give me some faith in humanity though.
DHS is working on an RFID biometric ID badge that knows when you go to the bathroom 2015-05-06 1:16
A Southern Connecticut State University student named Steve Abbagnaro of Durham is developing technology for DHS through his company, Queralt Inc.
"Started in January 2011 with private funding from the Department of Homeland Security, a multi-national industrial gas company and private shareholders, Queralt has grown from developing elementary sensor solutions to offering the leading cloud-based platform for powering intelligent real-time actions based ...
Sweden's solution to Mediterranean deaths 2015-05-06 0:39
This scene is from the Balkan wars of the 1990s. A summerâ€™s breeze compared to what is now coming from Africa.
Imagine a Danish person who is unhappy with his current life. Then he hears about Canada being this swell place to live. So he sets out in a rowboat from the Danish coast to start a new life. To everyoneâ€™s ...