Artist's rendering of what the Tatooine-like planet discovered by Kepler looks like.

Real Life Tatooines: Planets With Two Suns Abound

ICTMN Staff
1/20/12

Star Wars planet Tatooine is no fiction: In fact, according to NASA, two-sun planets may be more the norm than Earth's single-star solar system.

"This discovery confirms a new class of planetary systems that could harbor life," Kepler principal investigator William Borucki said in a NASA statement when the discovery was announced last fall. "Given that most stars in our galaxy are part of a binary system, this means the opportunities for life are much broader than if planets form only around single stars. This milestone discovery confirms a theory that scientists have had for decades but could not prove until now."

The Kepler Mission was undertaken to discover habitable planets. So far it has discovered 35 planets, most recently at least three in the size range of Earth. This Tatooine-like one is more akin to gaseous Saturn and falls outside the habitable zone of the stars' orbit, according to NASA. But others of the 100 billion or more planets in the Milky Way are bound to be able to support life.

Here, a depiction courtesy of Space.com.

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