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NASA's Kepler Discovers Multiple Planets Orbiting a Pair of Stars

DevotedSkeptic (2715017) writes | more than 2 years ago


DevotedSkeptic writes "Kepler has continued its stellar (pun intended) discovery spree, this time locating a multiple planets orbiting a Binary Stars. This is especially interesting because this proves that more than a single planet can form under the stresses of a binary star system.

The system is known as a circumbinary planetary system, is a mechanism where a planet orbits two stars. But prior to this discovery multiple planets in a circumbinary system was unproven. Coming less than one year from the discovery Kepler-16b, the first circumbinary system discovered.

Named Kepler-47, the system consists of a pair of orbiting stars that eclipse each other every 7.5 days. One star is similar in size to our Sol however it only provides approximately 84% of the light, the other is smaller measuring one third of the size of our Sol and emits less than 1% the light.

On to the planets, named Kepler-47b and Kepler-47c.. Kepler-47b is closer to its two suns orbiting in 50 Earth sols. Kepler-47c orbits every 303 days which would place it within the Goldilocks zone.

"Unlike our sun, many stars are part of multiple-star systems where two or more stars orbit one another. The question always has been — do they have planets and planetary systems? This Kepler discovery proves that they do," said William Borucki, Kepler mission principal investigator at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif. "In our search for habitable planets, we have found more opportunities for life to exist.""

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An Amazing Century (1)

RocketAcademy (2708739) | more than 2 years ago | (#41162389)

When I was growing up, there was evidence of planets orbiting a few nearby stars. Barnard's Star was the one most often cited. Unfortunately, the evidence was discredited by later studies. The technology of the time was not advanced enough to get the accurate measurements needed for real planetary detection. Now, the discovery of a new exoplanet is a routine occurrence. I have the Exoplanets app installed on my iPad, which gives me an alert every time a new discovery is made. I've actually thought about turning the alerts off, because they are so frequent that they're almost becoming an annoyance. We live in amazing times. I wonder if the younger generation can fully appreciate it.
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