Planetary System Found Around a Binary Star System

Some said it wouldn’t be possible, but Kepler has revealed a binary star system that has a planet (Kepler-16b) orbiting around it.  To some this is reminiscent of Tatooine, Luke Skywalker’s home planet in the “Star Wars” saga.

Artist's concept of planet orbiting the binary star system - Kepler-16b Image courtesy of NASA

This planet, which is about the size of Saturn, cold, possibly gaseous and rocky and orbits around the pair of stars in 229 days.  It also lies outside the habitable zone of these stars, which is the zone around a star that water would exit in a liquid state.  The two stars are smaller than the Sun, being about 69% and 20% the mass of our star.

Here’s a nice video showing the dynamics of this unique system and provides some great background information.


To say that such a planetary system could not exist was so very short sighted.  We have just begun to uncover the wonders of this Universe we live in.  I can only imagine what other wonders are out there that someone has stated emphatically would be impossible.  The possibilities are endless!

Till next time,

RC Davison

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