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Space Science

First Exoplanet Discovered Orbiting Two Stars 88

Posted by timothy
from the good-to-visit-not-to-live dept.
astroengine writes "For the first time, astronomers have discovered an exoplanet orbiting binary stars. Kepler-16b, a Saturn-sized world approximately 200 light-years away, orbits Kepler-16, two stars locked in a mutual dance. Although other exoplanets are known to exist in binary systems, they have only been known to be orbiting one star of the binary pair; Kepler-16b orbits both. No doubt Kepler-16b will excite memories of Tatooine, Luke Skywalker's homeworld, but the double sunset is where the similarities end. Kepler-16b would be anything but a desert world; it is the approximate size of Saturn, it is extremely cold, and its average density is that of water."
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First Exoplanet Discovered Orbiting Two Stars

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  • Wrong sci-fi planet? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by muecksteiner (102093) on Thursday September 15, 2011 @02:59PM (#37412686)

    Tatooine? Would that thing not be much more like Solaris [] (the planet from the novel, not the OS), especially since it's density is that of water?

  • Re:saw this episode (Score:4, Interesting)

    by sunspot42 (455706) on Thursday September 15, 2011 @07:30PM (#37415416)

    Not sure if that's true or not, but if the planet had a dense, large, rocky core, it could hold on to a thick, massive atmosphere that's far less dense than liquid water, at least for much of its overall volume.

    Saturn is a good example in our own solar system - it has an overall density less than the density of water. If you had a big enough bathtub, you could float Saturn in it.

    It would leave a ring, though...

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