Home > Science/Astronomy > NASA’s Kepler Discovers Multiple Planets Orbiting a Pair of Stars

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

ScienceDaily (Aug. 28, 2012) — Coming less than a year after the announcement of the first circumbinary planet, Kepler-16b, NASA’s Kepler mission has discovered multiple transiting planets orbiting two suns for the first time. This system, known as a circumbinary planetary system, is 4,900 light-years from Earth in the constellation Cygnus.

Orbiting in the Habitable Zone of Two Suns: This diagram compares our own solar system to Kepler-47, a double-star system containing two planets, one orbiting in the so-called “habitable zone.” (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle)
 

This discovery proves that more than one planet can form and persist in the stressful realm of a binary star and demonstrates the diversity of planetary systems in our galaxy.

Astronomers detected two planets in the Kepler-47 system, a pair of orbiting stars that eclipse each other every 7.5 days from our vantage point on Earth. One star is similar to the sun in size, but only 84 percent as bright. The second star is diminutive, measuring only one-third the size of the sun and less than 1 percent as bright.

Read more: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120828190127.htm

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