NASA’s Kepler space laboratory has discovered a pair of planets orbiting a pair of suns. The first-ever find could revolutionize knowledge of how planets are formed, and even identify alien worlds where life may flourish.
The Kepler-47 star system, about 5,000 light years away from Earth, has a bright sun and a pale sun that circle each other, and two planets bigger than the earth that rotate around their dance.
Greg Laughlin, professor of astrophysics and planetary science at the University of California, said the discovery could turn our understanding of how planets appeared after the Big Bang on its head.
“This is an amazing discovery,” he told SPACE.com “These planets are very difficult to form using the currently accepted paradigm, and I believe that theorists will be going back to the drawing board to try to improve our understanding of how planets are assembled.”
A planet with more than one sun, like Tatooine in Star Wars, was long imagined by artists, but the first such arrangement, known as a circumbinary system, was spotted less than twenty years ago.