The Milky Way galaxy just got a little weirder. Back in 2011 astronomers were amazed when NASA’s Kepler spacecraft discovered a planet orbiting a double star system. Such a world, they realized, would have double sunsets and sunrises just like the fictional planet Tatooine in the movie Star Wars. Yet this planet was real.
Now Kepler has discovered a whole system of planets orbiting a double star.
The star system, known as Kepler-47, is located 4,900 light-years from Earth in the constellation Cygnus. Two stars orbit one another at the center of the system: One is similar to the sun in size, but only 84 percent as bright. The second star is smaller, only one-third the size of the sun and less than 1 percent as bright. Kepler found two planets orbiting this mismatched pair.
“The presence of a full-fledged planetary system orbiting Kepler-47 is an amazing discovery,” says Greg Laughlin, professor of Astrophysics and Planetary Science at the University of California in Santa Cruz. “This is going to change the way we think about the formation of planets.” Via Scientists discover planetary system orbiting Kepler-47.