Scientists Have Discovered A Real Life Tatooine

OK, it's a circumbinary exoplanet, but you know what we mean.

So, here's something that may be of interest to Star Wars enthusiasts: NASA has discovered a circumbinary exoplanet, which is a very fancy and nerdy way of saying "a distant planet which has two suns". 

According to a report on CNN:

Scientists have confirmed that an exoplanet named Kepler-1647b is the largest discovered that orbits two suns. Exoplanets are those that orbit a star outside our solar system.

Though the exoplanet is about the same age as Earth -- 4.4 billion years old -- it's 3,700 light-years away and has mass, radius and gas composition comparable to those of Jupiter (or of Bespin, home of Cloud City in Empire Strikes Back, if we're sticking with the Star Wars comparison). The stars it orbits are similar to our own sun, though one is slightly larger than the other.

The report goes on to explain that Kepler-1647b is not the first Tatooine-like planet to be discovered, but it's certainly the largest. As an added bonus, it falls within the "habitable zone" thanks to its orbit and proximity to the nearest star. What this means is that standing pools of water might conceivably form on Kepler-1647b's surface, though I wouldn't plan on quitting your job to become a moisture farmer just yet: because the planet's a gas giant, liquid would only be pooling on the Kepler-1647b's surface if the planet also has large moons (which we haven't determined yet).

NASA published its findings in a paper which says:

"Planets with more than one sun have long captivated our collective imagination, yet direct evidence of their existence has emerged only in the past few years. 

As important as a new discovery of a (circumbinary planet) is to indulge our basic human curiosity about distant worlds, its main significance is to expand our understanding of the inner workings of planetary systems in the dynamically rich environments of close binary stars."

Yeah, yeah - whatever, guys. Just tell us when we can start shipping out. Shit's not looking so good down here right now, and I'm ready to leave it all behind to live amongst the Jawas. 

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