Working with NASA’s Kepler planet-hunting telescope, scientists have announced the discovery of two new planets outside our solar system that orbit not one, but two stars. Until four months ago, this was the stuff of science fiction; then Kepler found the first known planet to orbit two stars, called Kepler-16b, which orbits two stars 200 light years from Earth. This scenario had previously been imagined in the Star Wars movies–the fictional planet Tatooine orbited two stars. The most recently discovered planets, called Kepler-34b and Kepler-5b, are both gas giants like Saturn, Discovery News reports, and are within the “habitable zone” of their parents’ stars, where liquid water could exist at the surface. Water is believed to be a necessary ingredient for life. Even so, these planets probably aren’t solid, nor are they the right temperatures for life, but they could have moons that might be habitable.
Scientists discover more planets orbiting two stars
Celestial bodies belong to a new class of planet
FILED UNDER: Kepler telescope