'Tatooine' gives first direct proof of 2-sun planet
This iconic "Star Wars" scene inspired the nickname "Tatooine" for a newly found 2-sun planet Kepler-16b.
September 15th, 2011
02:00 PM ET

'Tatooine' gives first direct proof of 2-sun planet

Luke Skywalker looks out over a desert dominated by two setting suns in an iconic scene from "Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope." But this isn’t just the stuff of fiction. Now, astronomers have confirmed the first direct evidence that planets with two suns do exist.

Scientists at NASA and the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute [SETI] are informally calling the newly discovered world Tatooine, as homage to Skywalker's planet imagined by George Lucas.

The so-called circumbinary planet has been dubbed with an official name that's much less interesting: Kepler-16b.

Unlike the tagline of the Star Wars saga, Tatooine is not located in a "galaxy far, far away," it's right in our own backyard - relatively - about 200 light years from Earth in the constellation Cygnus. Getting to Tatooine aboard a spacecraft traveling at light speed - 186,282 miles per second - would take about two centuries. (The closest star to earth outside our solar system is about 4 light years away.)

Using data from NASA's $600 million Kepler telescope now orbiting the sun, a team lead by SETI's Laurance Doyle detected the actual shadow of a planet as it crossed in front of its two suns - a scientific first. Before this discovery, astronomers could only infer that planets could circle two suns by looking at how the timing of the eclipses of those stars changed. 

If the eclipses had happened at different times than expected, that would indicate that the stars may have a planet. But many other factors besides planets can cause such behavior, "so we really needed to see" the planet's shadow crossing in front of the stars to identify it without a doubt as a circumbinary, Doyle said.

"When we first discovered it … I sent around a message, 'Hey, you know guys, we should ask George Lucas if we can nickname this guy Tatooine,'" said Doyle, a former protegé of famed astrophysicist Carl Sagan. "Suddenly and unexpectedly after years of looking for a circumbinary planet – we got a beauty."

The discovery opens up a whole new world of questions about the formation of planets, double-star systems and the way they work together.

A double sunset on the real Tatooine, Doyle said, would surpass even Lucas' imagination. For someone standing on the planet's surface, one of the suns would appear orange and the other red.

The suns also change positions and movement in relationship to each other. This means sunsets on Tatooine are like snowflakes: No two are ever the same. "Sometimes the red star would go down first, sometimes the orange star," said Doyle. "Sometimes they would be far apart, sometimes they would be eclipsed. So it's a really interesting sunset."

Inside the rooms of SETI and NASA, the word's been spreading fast. "Everybody's already referring to it in informal meetings," said Doyle. "'So, how's Tatooine going?' or referring to 'Tatooine's orbital period,' or whatever."

The idea that something that was science fiction in 1977 has been found in the real universe in 2011 could, Doyle hopes, inspire future scientists and astronauts.

But future space travelers may be disappointed to learn the real Tatooine probably isn't home to Skywalker or any other life form. Doyle is highly doubtful that the planet could support life as we know it due to its size and distance from its suns.

Here are a few other details about the planet nicknamed "Tatooine."

  • The planet could contain water in some form.
  • It's possible the planet could have one or more moons. Doyle continues to search.
  • Kepler-16b will be visible to amateur astronomers in June 2012.
  • Kepler-16b is the best-measured planet outside our solar system.
  • Its two suns go around each other every 41 days.
  • The planet has two eclipses each month.
  • Kepler-16b's "year" - the time it takes to go around its double suns - is 229 days.
  • It's believed that double-star systems outnumber single-star systems.
  • Doyle expects to find more circumbinary planets in the next month or two.

Kepler-16's mysteries began to reveal themselves in March of this year, when Doyle and SETI colleague Bob Slawson found the first clues while working at SETI facilities in Mountain View, California. Further investigation showed the system contained two small stars and later, a planet circling the stars. 

"It was really quite a team effort," said Doyle. "Dan Fabrycky, at University of California, Santa Cruz, did gravitational confirmation calculations.” I asked him, 'So, what did you get?' He said, '99.99%, it's a planet.'" Then after a few additional confirmations from other team members including Harvard-based Josh Carter, "we were like, that's it guys. We nailed it. That's the moment we nailed it."

The discovery reminds Doyle of the work he did with Sagan at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in the 1970s and ’80s, analyzing data from the Voyager 1 and 2 probes to Jupiter and Saturn. Sagan took Doyle under his wing, encouraging him to pursue his doctoral dissertation based on Voyager's data about Saturn's mysterious rings.

Sagan, who died in 1996, would have celebrated this new discovery, Doyle suspects. "Being Carl, I think he might have used the term 'elegant.' A whole new kind of anything (in this case a planetary system) is what Carl just loved."

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Filed under: Eclipse • In Space • News
soundoff (670 Responses)
  1. The R.O.T.P.

    "tatooine", try to say it now... rofl..

    September 15, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
  2. Dearth_Moral

    IGREAT! It's gonna take FOREVER to confirm whether or not Womp Rats taste like chicken!

    September 15, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
    • Bozo

      Maybe Jodie Foster can go there and meet her dad for a BBQ Womp Rat sandwich, and come back and tell everyone how they taste, while crying!

      September 15, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
    • irishyank2

      I always found it a bit bothersome that Luke used them for target practice. Sadistic little kid.

      September 15, 2011 at 9:16 pm |
      • reddfrog

        If the womp rats shoot first will that make you feel better?

        September 16, 2011 at 8:28 am |
  3. whatwhatwhatyo

    i get so tired of you simple minded morons. back in the day there was nothing besides a flat earth. flash forward till today and it is flat out amazing the technology. through exploration comes innovation and searching the stars is the steps needed to progress.

    think past right now what is this worth to me. it is about the advancement of the human race itself which should be the priority in life.

    September 15, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
    • Bozo

      Venkman: "This city is headed for a disaster of biblical proportions."
      Mayor: "What do you mean, biblical?"
      Ray: "What he means is Old Testament, Mr. Mayor... real Wrath-of-God-type stuff. Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies."
      Venkman: "Rivers and seas boiling!"
      Egon: "40 years of darkness, earthquakes, volcanos."
      Winston: "The dead rising from the grave!"
      Venkman: "Human sacrifice, dogs and cats, living together... mass hysteria!"

      September 15, 2011 at 6:06 pm |
      • clarabelle

        Aren't you the President of the Clown College?

        September 16, 2011 at 2:32 am |
      • Bozo

        Why Yes I am, Clarabelle, thank you for asking.......HONK!

        September 16, 2011 at 6:17 am |
      • Newo

        "dogs and cats, living together. Mass hysteria"
        -thank you, I needed that.

        September 16, 2011 at 8:54 am |
    • Alex

      Who says our parasitic species should be allowed to leave this planet?

      We can't even take care of our planet, what business do we have trying to get to others?

      September 16, 2011 at 3:32 am |
      • tyler

        shut up man...

        September 16, 2011 at 4:32 am |
      • Shawn

        You anti-human people really need to stop being such hypocrites and kill yourselves, already.

        September 16, 2011 at 5:06 am |
      • Skyler

        I agree with the statement above.

        September 16, 2011 at 5:54 am |
      • MrId

        Types Alex on his computer with three screen, with his A/C set on 65, Plasma TV blaring, Cable box recording, IPod playing, lighting on in the day, microwave popcorn popping, oven pre-heating, iPad charging, washer washing, dryer drying, and flux capacitor fluxing.

        September 16, 2011 at 7:02 am |
      • @kart

        Name one reason we should give a d@mn about our planet save for reasons of our own survival.

        September 16, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
  4. tony

    why do we spend 600 million on a telescope to find a stupid plant 200 light years away that no human being could ever get to anyway, unless we send the cyrogenically frozen Austin Powers. How much more absolutley useless knowledge of space do we need? Obama could have loaned that money to another bankrupt solar energy company.

    September 15, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
    • Dan

      Why do you need the Internet? Freeze dried food? Satellites? Cordless power tools? Smoke detectors? Digital mammography? All these and many more came from such government programs.
      Why is it valuable to learn more about the universe? Go crawl back under a rock.

      September 15, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
      • Alex

        Dude! Digital Mammography? I love that!

        September 16, 2011 at 3:33 am |
    • Walter Estrada

      500 years ago, it was impossible to do 99 percent of the things we can do now. in 500 years, the things we do/know now, will not be the 1% of what we will do/know then. The Americas wouldnt be what it is today if it werent for explorers and risk takers of that present day. Although you are right that we cannot reach a binary system at 200LY, we need to learn all that we can about our world and beyond so we can continue to grow and evolve as a species. For that, 600 Million is money well spent.

      September 15, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
      • cul8r

        To continue on that, 100 years ago people probably thought it would be impossible to send a craft to Mars, let alone send people to the moon, but we have done it. Just because we aren't able to travel 200 light years now, does not mean that we will never be able to make the journey sometime in the future.

        September 15, 2011 at 7:18 pm |
    • mark

      All the money and planning for this was spent during the Bush and Clinton years. Just an FYI for the shortsighted.

      September 15, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
    • stupid

      you're typical homo erectus

      September 15, 2011 at 7:11 pm |
      • Daoud

        Excuse me, I do not have a gay erection.

        September 16, 2011 at 5:29 am |
      • Daoud

        My bad, I am not a gay erection.

        September 16, 2011 at 5:31 am |
    • SB

      Yeah! 'Cause learnin' stuff never helped no one anyhow!

      That's what I hear when I read posts like yours. That, and banjo music.

      Try to imagine for just a second that knowledge is important to the development of an intelligent species. Try to imagine why that might be true. And if you still can't, well, that's alright. Just pick up that there banjo and go on with your blissful existence. Don't you worry your head over it. Other people will take care of that and you will benefit, just like always.

      September 15, 2011 at 7:47 pm |
      • ACSnow

        I'm Southern and I think he's way off base too... It just matters where your priorities are in life. If all you care about is yourself and your own little circle then I guess it doesn't matter that we've gained so much from the technology created in the past century. I personally couldn't function if I didn't have the internet or my TV. I would have time to brush up on my banjo skills though 😉

        September 15, 2011 at 8:45 pm |
    • SmarterThanYouPeople

      The reporter needs to get a clue. 200 light years doesn't mean that it would take two centuries for a spaceship to get there at the speed of light. It means that we see the planet the way it was two hundred years ago. Why do they let dumb people write science articles?

      September 15, 2011 at 8:10 pm |
      • Nasai

        Both are true. Why do they let dumb people post comments?

        September 15, 2011 at 10:58 pm |
      • George

        really dude? obviously someone needs some physics/math lessons...

        September 16, 2011 at 2:17 am |
      • SmarterThanSmarterThanYouPeople

        1 light year = Distance light can travel in 1 year

        200 light years = Distance light travels in 200 years.

        If a ship traveled at the speed of light, it would indeed take 200 years for it to reach a planet that is 200 light years away.

        September 16, 2011 at 3:10 am |
      • Huh?


        September 16, 2011 at 4:11 am |
      • NoGOP12

        Yes, it does take 200 years to travel 200 light years at light speed, but, what we're looking at happend 200 years ago and may not even be there anymore!

        September 16, 2011 at 4:23 am |
      • CD

        A spaceship travelling close to the speed of light will be subjected to relativistic time elongation. The astronauts abroad the ship will experience a much shorter time elapse compared to those who stay back on earth. At the speed of light, this effect will be go to infinity.

        September 16, 2011 at 6:47 am |
      • ConfucianScholar

        You are ignorant to hold such a misinformed and misguided opinion, and arrogant for so shamelessly voicing an objectively wrong opinion even as you ridicule your self to the extreme.

        September 16, 2011 at 6:53 am |
      • HypocriteYou

        A true Confucian would not insult someone, regardless of how uninformed their statement may be.

        September 16, 2011 at 7:48 am |
      • Marten

        CD is right. Time dilation applies. Approximately 200 years would elapse on Earth for the voyagers to make it there. Provided they turned around immediately and came back right away, another 200 years would go by on planet Earth. However, at 1G acceleration, only 10 years would pass for the voyager going there and 10 years for coming back (total roundtrip time relativistic to the traveler is 20 years).

        September 16, 2011 at 11:11 am |
    • cosmicsnoop

      Well, we could set up a trade deal with the Jawa's and jump start the economy with some jobs. War is also good for economic stimulus and those Sandmen are pretty nasty guerilla fighters.

      September 15, 2011 at 8:46 pm |
    • clarabelle

      Do not read articles like this, they are not meant for you. Stick your head back in the sand and try not to think, it will only make you appear foolish.

      September 16, 2011 at 2:36 am |
    • Matthew

      Because there are some of us who are not too distracted by the antics of governments and bankers to realize that the advancement of our knowledge is tantamount to the advancement of our species. Believe it or not, there are many things in this world that have a value that is not monetary.

      September 16, 2011 at 3:08 am |
    • NoGOP12

      Thankfully we're not all like you, if it wasn't for people with the desire to explore and create we'd be stuck in the stone age with you and the rest of your tea bag / Obama hating buddies. The reason we need to use 600 mill telescopes is to know which direction to explore due to the vastness of space. We can't just take off to the west like Columbus did; we need to know exactly which direction to go. All like you are crying about "My kids" future etc, etc. Well if we continue to pollute this planet the way we are (but I’m sure you deny) , space exploration might be the only future "your kids" have. Wake up and quit listening to your favorite fox talking heads.

      September 16, 2011 at 4:37 am |
      • NoDemEver

        Sorry, we can't go that way, either. It's 200 light years away. Star Wars isn't real. Neither is Star Trek. We can't even go to Jupiter, and may never get to Mars.

        Reality check.....can you hear me now????

        September 16, 2011 at 7:51 am |
      • NoGOP12

        @noDem, that's right my reality is physics and science, what's yours? jesus?

        September 16, 2011 at 8:43 am |
      • GrandOldPartier

        (Stuffs in locker) Go back to the science lab, nerd!

        September 16, 2011 at 9:05 am |
    • JohnnyDaze

      My stars... the ignorance of this post!

      September 16, 2011 at 5:42 am |
    • LuisWu

      Go back to your trailer and bang your sister...I mean wife. Oh...same thing. And then brush your 3 teeth.

      September 16, 2011 at 6:05 am |
    • aochs615

      Congrats for the dumbest comment of the day

      September 16, 2011 at 7:51 am |
    • @Tony

      unplug your flat screen TV and the fridge, turn of the lights, sit in a dark and quiet and wait for the Armageddon to meet your Savoir. The rest of us will try to learn a thing or two.

      September 16, 2011 at 10:43 pm |
  5. HbabyK

    How's 200 light years away rom Earth consider "it's right in our own backyard"? especially if it takes 2 centuries while traveling at light speed – 186,282 miles per second to get there! Can you even imagine travelling out there, not to mention being dead by the time u get there.

    September 15, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
    • Tim W.

      Considering the overall size of the universe....200 light years away is just across the street !

      September 15, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
    • Some Guy

      The width of our galaxy is about 100,000 light years, so in cosmic terms, 200 light years is essentially in our backyard.

      September 15, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
    • Dan

      It's "right in your own back yard" in relative terms. Something "far away" would be hundreds of millions or even billions of light years away. Consider that 150 years ago, a 60 mile trip was considered a significant journey. A cross country journey was an epic struggle where you had to account for the seasons when planning it.

      September 15, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
    • grace

      relative to the size of the universe you moron

      September 15, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
    • Lyov

      A quick calculation (so forgive me if my numbers are bogus) for you: The observable universe, as we know it, is 45.7 billion light-years across. If the universe were a sphere the size of the planet earth, this planet would be about 5.6 micrometers from us, or about the width of 5 or 6 human hairs.

      September 15, 2011 at 5:58 pm |
      • Rob

        hmm...im pretty sure its closer to 30 billion light -years across.

        September 15, 2011 at 7:53 pm |
      • Loupy_e

        5 or 6 micrometers is about the size of 5 or 6 cells actually (in that range anyway depending on the cell). The diameter of hair is roughly 100 micrometers... but yeah, you're right... very small distances relative to the whole.

        September 16, 2011 at 2:15 am |
      • Nostromo45

        It is pedantic to split hairs.

        September 16, 2011 at 4:35 pm |

      I had the honor as a senior physics student to spend a day with Carl Sagan. It is likely one of the most incredible days of my life. However HbabyK let me explain to you that the people traveling at the speed of light would not die on the trip and in fact the trip would seem "instantaneous" to them. That is why it is called relativity, because time is relative to who is moving and who is not moving and viewing. On earth all would in fact die and new generations would come and go during the trip and again all would die and many generations pass before they received the radio signal from the space ship. But those on board the space ship would be the same age and to them the trip would have taken only the time to accelerate and decelerate to and from the speed of light.

      September 15, 2011 at 8:14 pm |
      • m-theory

        Uh...you didn't pay too much attention to Carl. He'd slap you for that one. The space travelers would experience a PORTION of the time traveling to the star...probably in the neighborhood of decades... but not instantaneous.

        September 16, 2011 at 3:20 am |
      • Steve

        Just to be clear... you get a number like 1/20th the time if the craft is traveling at about 0.995c. Feels like splitting hairs to argue about this though.

        September 16, 2011 at 4:46 am |
      • Steve

        Ug... operator error on my calculator. Should be more like 0.999c to reduce a 200 year trip to 10 years for those on board. Just as an aside, speeds like this (and higher) are achieved on a daily basis on individual atoms in laboratories.

        September 16, 2011 at 4:51 am |

        M-theory.. Addison is correct and perhaps you need some reading comprehension practice. If you travel AT the speed of light (NOT .95)) time will stop for those traveling at the speed of light. He posted that it will be almost instantaneous minus the time it takes to accelerate and decelerate. Thus his comment is 100% accurate.

        September 16, 2011 at 7:32 am |
      • EinsteinWouldSlapYouAll

        Um...guys. Light speed travel is impossible. Sagan and Einstein would agree. It would take an INFINITE amount of energy to transport anything besides light itself. You couldn't go anywhere near light speed, or ludicrous speed. While light speed is 182,000 miles per second, the fastest rocket we have today goes about 7 miles per second. At today's technology (Repeat after me, "Star Trek isn't real") a 200-LY trip would take....anyone? anyone? About 5,200,000 years. Really, guys. Reality check.

        September 16, 2011 at 7:58 am |
  6. LouAz

    That small one is really a planet that is on fire. It is completely engulfed in flames because the GOP/TPers refused to fund any more firemen.

    September 15, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
    • MrId

      That was so not funny.

      September 16, 2011 at 4:27 am |
  7. cpc65

    Just as long as Lucas doesn't add a bunch of cheesy looking CGI critters that don't look like they belong. "Solo shot first!"

    September 15, 2011 at 5:28 pm |

      of course solo show first! he is to good to allow Greedo to get the drop on him. my question is why would Solo go to Tatooine knowing that Jaba is trying to capture him

      September 15, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
      • kaymich

        I don't think Solo knew Jabba had put the bounty out on him until Greedo told him.

        September 15, 2011 at 7:53 pm |
      • George

        this dudes right..greedo told solo about the bounty and han solo replied with is that so...

        September 16, 2011 at 2:21 am |
    • JabbyJay

      your comment makes no sense. They wouldnt post this on a credited site if it was a hoax. And "God" has nothing to do with it. God was invented as a way to explain where you go when you die. People fear the unknown so they created a God so they can die peacefully. the reality is you body shuts down and you erode back into the ground. And drinking doesnt make any sense at all. People like you are annoying. And to all you people referencing politics, give it up. You all let it happen year after year after year. Now we have to fix the mess. Has ntohing to do with this post.

      September 15, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
      • Okay?

        Haha, the comment you made sir JabbyJay, makes no sense Unless I'm wrong and blind, cpc65 made no mention of God in his comment whatsoever.

        September 15, 2011 at 7:44 pm |
      • Nasai

        What was all that stuff about God? Do you wanna talk about it?

        September 15, 2011 at 11:02 pm |
      • Ken

        LOL people didn't create God you fool, God is real I swear idiots like you make the world a bad place

        September 16, 2011 at 3:49 am |
      • Carl

        I hope you're being sarcastic, Ken, otherwise you're one of just many delusional dopes buying into a non-existent God. It's hapless fools like yourself who make the world an unimaginably awful place. Science and logic ftw!

        October 4, 2011 at 11:55 am |
    • gatling216

      Strictly speaking, Solo shot. Period. Poor Greedo never had a chance.

      September 16, 2011 at 5:10 am |
  8. sao


    September 15, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
    • teddo

      you're a complete idiot. the fact that you managed to type a comment far exceeds your intelligence level.

      September 15, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
      • thebakerpack

        You capitalize the beginning of sentences.

        September 15, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
    • dude

      you should stop drinking. you're crazy when you drink.

      September 15, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
    • SpotOn

      Aside from the obvious problem with your education, one might also question your understanding of the universe around you. Centuries ago it was convenient to define a "heaven" somewhere magically above the Earth in which one or more gods could watch over the flock. Not unlike the royalty of the time who built castles on hills to watch over their flock. However, either you are denying that the Earth is a tiny spec in an infinite universe or you have some new theory that "heaven" exists in a place or dimension outside of our universe. So far the data are not in your favor.

      September 15, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
      • jim

        Actuasllly they are. Recent thoeries of quantum mechanics suggest that an infinite number of universes coexist in parallel, all with different laws of physics. If true, all things not only are possible, but exist somewhere. One of them MUST meet the definitions of what we call "heaven". Maybe thats what its all about- trying to get there.

        September 15, 2011 at 7:27 pm |
      • Ken

        OMG talk about uneducated your a moron LOL

        September 16, 2011 at 3:51 am |
      • Red Helm

        Actually, I think most scientists agree that, ooo baby, heaven is a place on earth.

        September 16, 2011 at 11:32 pm |
    • Bozo

      That's right. Galileo was wrong too, moons cannot rotate around anything but the Earth. The Earth is the Center of Everything! It's even the center of the Bible!!

      September 15, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
    • TED

      Who is god.

      September 15, 2011 at 6:46 pm |
    • Nasai

      PROOFS IT.

      September 15, 2011 at 11:04 pm |
  9. SB

    What makes this significant is the vast number of multiple-star systems in the galaxy. If planets can exist stably in such a complex (compared to "home") orbital system, the likely number of planets just shot way up.

    September 15, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
    • Kat

      Yup, the Drake equation is getting mighty interesting these days (and the History Channel's Ancient Aliens show is getting improbably more plausible...)

      September 16, 2011 at 5:43 am |
  10. Chickenhawk

    Yet another example of how Obama is trying to destroy this country!

    September 15, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
    • whatever

      Another example of how you don't have a life. What did you do 32 months ago, when the economy was already crapping the bed?

      September 15, 2011 at 5:45 pm |

      how is this destroying our country?

      September 15, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
      • Troy

        I think that was sarcasm.

        September 15, 2011 at 7:35 pm |
  11. troll face

    i blame osama bin mama -_-

    September 15, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
  12. YoYo

    It's Obama's fault.

    September 15, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
    • Chickenhawk

      Exactly! THank you!

      September 15, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
      • guy

        You ppl are so dumb wat does obama have to do with this

        September 15, 2011 at 8:18 pm |
  13. troll face

    omg two suns thats just great well lets all gp over there to say"wtf did i tell you???"

    September 15, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
  14. Kev

    What if C-A-T really spelled "dog"?

    September 15, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
    • Aletheya

      Monty Python already did it. "It's spelled Raymond Luxury Yacht, but it's pronounced "Throatwarbler Mangrove".

      September 15, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
      • Kev

        We are sooooo screwed.

        September 15, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
  15. JAWA


    September 15, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
    • Tusken Raider


      September 15, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
      • Ewok

        Guys, I don't really blink!!!

        September 16, 2011 at 11:06 am |
  16. KWS

    It probably doesn't support life due to its size and distance from the suns...


    Who's editing over there, anyway!?

    September 15, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
    • Kingfisher

      The planet is a third of Jupiter's mass. It is slightly smaller than Saturn at 0.7538 Jupiter radii, but is much more dense. It's semimajor axis is 0.7048 AU, roughly three times the semimajor axis of the star system. I suspect moisture vaporators would break down all the time in that heat.

      Who's editing? Look it up, fuzzball.

      September 15, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
    • Chance

      During the press conference they explicitly said there are now 2 things that need to become common place and understood now.
      1. That there are millions of binary's in our galaxy alone. ( that's pretty much billions of circumbinary planets ) which during the days of star wars were thought impossible to have planetary systems do to chaotic and powerful gravitational forces (absorbed, crushed and ejected planets). 2. (and more importantly in relation to your question) The goldilocks principle is also not realistic. There are now thought to be more then one sweetspot; which isn't related to just simple distances from the sun(s). They specifically said that life is not just going to be in sweet spots. (including earth objects). Kepler 16b (as already described well by the guy above; is simply the current verified in system; they will continue to study n list of planets will rise. They also said during the conference that even if it was a gas giant it wouldn't preclude possibility of a moon having earth like properties.

      September 15, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
      • Nasai

        "1. That there are millions of binary's in our galaxy alone. ( that's pretty much billions of circumbinary planets )"

        Is that to say that these solar systems, on average, have 1000 planets each?

        September 15, 2011 at 11:08 pm |
      • George

        Nasai stupid people talk about people. Average people talk about events. And smart people talk about ideas. Where does that put you after that comment. Seriously the lengths people will go to just to discredit another person. Does it get you off?

        September 16, 2011 at 2:29 am |
      • Beefburger

        That would only require 999 million binaries with 2.004 planets each.

        September 16, 2011 at 3:36 am |
  17. lohof

    How does finding a planet with two suns prove god does or does not exist just wondering??

    September 15, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
    • Observer

      It doesn't. Where did you ever come up with that thought?

      September 15, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
    • Livin' High


      September 15, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
    • Dude

      It does not prove his existence, but it does disprove it either. It's a question of faith.

      September 16, 2011 at 11:13 am |
  18. fiskenmann

    Wouldn't that just be something that all these planets, creatures and stories from writers are really thought processes received from aliens during dream states?

    September 15, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
    • jimzcarz

      Dude pass it over here...

      September 15, 2011 at 7:49 pm |
  19. Observer

    Sooner or later we will find life elsewhere in the universe and the first thing after that will be people coming out with a "revised" Bible.

    September 15, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
    • Ken

      That wont happen God made it all

      September 15, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
    • HAHAHA

      LOL!! What does the Bible have to do with it? Rest assured, if life is discovered "out there", it's origin will be traced back to God. God created everything. Read the Bible for yourself and you will not find anywhere that limits God's Creation to us.

      September 15, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
      • WHYsoANGRY?

        Except for the fact that the Bible was NOT the word of God and was not written by anyone who directly knew Jesus. The bible was written some 500 years after Jesus was long gone along with his apostles and such. I'm not saying that the Bible isn't true. I'm saying it's a very biased piece of writing filled with stories making God look good. The only book thought to be the actual word for word of God is the Quran (or Coran). Silly Christians need to learn more about their religous history. It's quite interesting.

        September 15, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
      • HAHAHA

        Yes everybody knows this all just happened on its own. LOL One day there was nothing and then all of a sudden we have the universe outta nowhere. LOL Or was it the magic tooth fairies? Maybe they made it all? Is that it?

        September 15, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
      • New World

        Ha,Ha, The universe(s) does not need a god to prove it's existence, YOU need god to prove your existence.

        September 15, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
      • Student of the Bible

        Why is WHYsoANGRY so ignorant. What planet do you live on? If the Bible wasn't written as you say until 500 years after Jesus then how was the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) translated into Greek 200 years before Jesus was born. Can you give any academic reference to your ideas?

        September 15, 2011 at 7:25 pm |
      • Nasai

        Why does the time it was written even matter? Why would you believe a piece of literature passed along by PEOPLE from generation to generation if you cant reproduce the materials therein yourself?

        September 15, 2011 at 11:18 pm |
      • HAHAHA

        Right, go back to watching tv and everything will be ok. It is much more believable. The grownups will worry about all this yucky stuff. I'm still not sure that Bible has to do with any of this "Planet with two Suns" story. But hey, they better have not have thin skin if they want to use this as an opportunity to attack the Bible. Why the Bible? Too scared to attack the other "religions". If you don't believe in the Bible, then don't believe in it. Thats your choice. But the disrespect for people that do believe in the Bible needs to stop. Nobody should be disrespected because of their personal beliefs.

        September 16, 2011 at 12:55 am |
      • George

        Science has yet to prove or disprove God or any supreme being and probably never will. Seriously without a time machine or some serious archaeological discoveries you'll probably never be able to disprove any of the big religions. So your arguments against God are just as fruitless as the ones for him/her

        September 16, 2011 at 2:35 am |
      • Beefburger

        The books of the Bible WERE written in the age of Jesus and before. You are thinking of the The Council of Nicea in 275AD that collected these books into what we now know as The Bible. That is why individual "chapters" of The Bible are called "Books" as they were all their own individual works before the Bishops gathered by Emperor Constantine began the multiple Council sessions.

        Although it was a pretty slick edit considering the last line of the last Book (Revelations) said that it was a sin to change anything "in this book".

        September 16, 2011 at 3:46 am |
    • Observer

      If they find life in outer space, it likely will be far older than ours since it likely took many thousand light-years for us to see it. So much for God creating the universe in 6 days.

      September 15, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
      • HAHAHA

        LOL You just keep telling yourself that over and over and everything will be ok. 🙂

        September 15, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
      • Observer


        LOL. You keep telling yourself about talking serpents, unicorns, bushes that burn without disintegrating, populating the world through incest, stopping the world instantly for a day, men living in whales, and 600-year-old men building a ship big enough to hold hundreds of thousands of animals and food for months. LOL.

        September 15, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
      • HAHAHA

        Yes everybody knows this all just happened on its own. LOL One day there was nothing and then all of a sudden we have the universe outta nowhere. LOL Or was it the magic tooth fairies? Maybe they made it all? Is that it?

        September 15, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
      • Observer


        So besides all the nonsense I mention, you are claiming that God "just happened on its own". Hypocritical argument.

        September 15, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
      • HAHAHA

        So it was the magic fireflies? Or are you buying into the everything just appeared out of nothing on its own "scientific fact" theory? Do share with us your "bible" and your version of everything since you are so set on trying to discredit God. Ok explain it to everybody since God is not a good enough explanation for you. So one day there was something? And... where did it come from? Did you make it? Since you are all knowing and was there and witnessed your "big bang". Do tell. Lets take God out of it and hear YOUR version. If you want to know what I believe, READ THE BIBLE. It's all in there for you. If you question where God came from, READ THE BIBLE. Thats my answer to your question. Now I'm waiting to hear you version. You got mine. It's the KJV. I'm waiting....

        September 15, 2011 at 7:59 pm |
      • Observer

        "If you question where God came from, READ THE BIBLE."

        I have. It DOESN'T tell where God came from. You should know that. You should read the Bible someday rather than just ignorantly laughing out loud.
        I'm like everyone else. I don't know where the world came from anymore than people know where God came from.

        Being agnostic or atheist does not require believing in the "Big Bang Theory". NO ONE knows for sure.

        September 15, 2011 at 8:41 pm |
      • HAHAHA

        "In the beginning was God...." I guess if left up to you it would be "In the beginning was... ummm.... I dunno... your guess is as good as mine... but I know there is no possible way it could have been God. I have proof that it could not have been God." Or most Bible bangers would have it be "In the beginning was a lump of junk that finally exploded into the universe..." But nobody knows where the lump of junk came from. It was just always there kinda like God.... Whatever anybody can dream up is just as absurd as they try to make the Bible sound.

        September 16, 2011 at 1:07 am |
      • Observer

        "Whatever anybody can dream up is just as absurd as they try to make the Bible sound."

        There's no need to "dream up" things when people talk about talking serpents, unicorns, people living in whales, and the entirely illogical nonsense about Noah.

        September 16, 2011 at 2:18 am |
      • Kat

        @hahaha your numnittedness (yes, I invented that term just for you) is quite astounding. Physicists, astronomers, and planetary scientists have pretty much explained how the Universe formed after the Big Bang (it took 14 billion years, for starters). If the Universe was only about 6000 years old, as it would have to be if the creation story of the old testament was true, we'd only be able to see 6000 light years in any direction, but we actually see billions of light years farther. Add into that reams of data on Earth's geologic history (carbon dating, plate shift, the composition of air bubbles trapped in polar ice, etc, etc), as well as the sequencing of stars (which are actually excellent clocks) and scientists have developed an extremely well-defined view of time in the Universe. The Bible is just completely wrong about the age of the Universe, so why wouldn't it be wrong about other things as well?

        You question why scientists say there was nothing and then all of a sudden there was something. This is not true, and you're asking the wrong question. The Big Bang produced an enormous amount of matter and energy, not quite instantaneously, but close, and pretty much all of that survives currently in some form. Where it gets weird is that space itself is madly frothing with something called zero point energy, or more simply, 'virtual' quantum particles that pop in and out of existence in less than a planck second (the shortest possible measurable interval of time). Each virtual particle pops into existence then immediately annihilates with an anti-particle that has similarly popped into existence. Scientists don't quite know why space has this attribute, but it is observed. Understanding why is an active area of study. So you could ask your question about why stuff can suddenly come into existence, about space itself, and it would be meaningful.

        What happened before the Big Bang is what you are actually trying to ask. Where the heck did all this matter and energy come from? Physicists are currently mulling various mathematical models to address this problem, and it's most likely that our Universe is simply one of many, and that there is a multiverse that contains the many (potentially infinite) universes. So right now the Universe is suffering from inaccurate terminology. One of the most intriguing theories about where the energy actually came from is that two branes (as in membrane) collided together to make a pinched off pocket of space-time (this pinched off pocket would be our Universe, so that should give you an idea about the scale of the multiverse). Your next question should then be, "what the heck is a membrane?" The current answer to that is that it's a higher dimensional mathematical convenience–we don't know what they are exactly, but they make the mathematical models work (and models that work have an interesting habit of being verified as true with appropriate observations).

        So in short, not that you're going to follow my advice or anything, but you should rent Stephen Hawking's Universe on DVD. It's dumbed down as much as this stuff can be, and it's a good primer for someone like you to start to wrap your head around what the Universe actually is.

        September 16, 2011 at 6:21 am |
      • HAHAHA

        LOL. Sounds like you been watching way too much TV. Big Star Trek fan I'm guessing? So, the best you can do is call people names and use big words like "science" to make your self feel better? Well I'm glad you finally got it all figured out. Congratulations! You just keep telling yourself how smart your are and everything will be ok I'm sure. Will you win some sort of prize or something?

        September 16, 2011 at 8:45 am |
      • HAHAHA

        Oh and do tell where the little blinky lights came from that you all saw right before the big bang. I'm guess it was a methane byproduct of gassy fireflies?

        September 16, 2011 at 8:52 am |
      • HAHAHA

        Oh that's right, it was the membranes pinching one off. So where did the membranes come from?

        September 16, 2011 at 8:54 am |
      • HAHAHA

        Go crawl back into your mom's basement and start the next Star Trek episode. LOL

        September 16, 2011 at 9:56 am |
    • Ousal Dove

      God made all the universe! and the Holy bible does not leave out the possibility of other planet, suns etc or even life on those other planets. No, no need to revise the bible, its all there. But what's interesting is what isn't in there, maybe he just didn't think we needed to know yet!!! He left some things for us to find out ourselves to give us something interesting in life to go hmmm, about. :o)

      September 15, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
      • fimeilleur

        But... everything we need to know is IN the bible... that's what family radio says, and the WBC...

        Imagine God letting us discover things on our own after forbidding Adam & Eve to eat from the tree of knowledge...
        Imagine God letting us discover evolution that pretty much calls BS on the Genesis account of the first man and woman...
        Imagine God letting us discover astronomy so that we can quell the BS idea that the stars are tiny dots of light on the canvass of the heavens...

        Imagine there is no God...


        September 15, 2011 at 6:06 pm |
    • Confused

      How does finding life (or in this case the existence of a dual sun solar system) in other parts of the universe have anything to do with a biblical revision? Seriously. Can you please point to the passage that says God only created life here? Why is it that scientific articles such as this bring out the ignorance in people. I am a Christian and think it's just exciting to see all of these amazing discoveries. Wouldn't it just ROCK to find life elsewhere?!

      September 15, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
      • Qustionevrythg

        What exactly was written by the hand of god? So typical of us egomaniacs to believe that one of us, a human, created all of the galaxies. Very convenient, isnt it?

        September 15, 2011 at 6:40 pm |
  20. sam

    The pic makes it look like Luke is merrily skipping along.

    September 15, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
  21. psbfla

    Cool ! Having two suns means you wouldn't have to turn so often when sun bathing!

    September 15, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
  22. Tusken Raider


    September 15, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
  23. Obi Wan Kenobi

    In a related story, Rick Perry is to become the new host of The Price is Right.

    September 15, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
    • LouAz

      That's funny ! Caught me completely off guard . . .

      September 15, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  24. Hank

    The Jundland Wastes are not to be traveled lightly. Tell me, young Luke, what brings you out this far?

    September 15, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
    • Luke

      I was going to the Tosche station to pick up some power converters...

      September 15, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
  25. george

    So I take it that daylight hours are not always the same on this planet. Same as night time hours.

    September 15, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
    • Kat

      The suns would set within a reasonable (though variable) amount of time from one another, so you would still have defined days and nights. What you would not have on this planet is one sun rising while the other sets because the planet does not orbit between the suns (it's going around both in a circle/ellipse, no figure-8s or anything).

      September 16, 2011 at 6:30 am |
    • sweetpea

      I don't believe the article indicated that they have determined whether or not the planet rotates (that is spins on its own axis.) They have only determined that it circles the binary star system. If it does not rotate (like our own moon) then the same side of the planet would always face the suns. Just like our own moon only shows us one side all the time.

      September 16, 2011 at 9:49 am |
  26. Shaneeda Quit

    How large is this planet?

    September 15, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
    • Kat

      Kepler 16 (AB) b is 0.33 Jupiter masses, and 0.75 Jupiter radii (so 1/3 the mass of Jupiter and 3/4 the volume of Jupiter). For more perspective, Jupiter is 318 times more massive than Earth, and 1320 more times voluminous (so Jupiter is not very dense in comparison to Earth). If you have an iPad, I recommend downloading the exoplanet app which is great for staying up-to-date with all this stuff.

      September 16, 2011 at 6:36 am |
  27. Tonelok

    So many references, so little time...
    That's no moon...
    To reach this planet, I will need a ship that can make the kessel run in less than 12 parsects...
    The discovery of this planet is insignifigant, next to the power of the force...
    Can we use the Sarlacc pit as an alternative form of the death penalty?
    I'm looking for investors for a start-up moisture-vaporator manufacturing company, any takers?
    I could go on, but this will suffice for now : )

    September 15, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
    • HanSolo

      Laugh it up fuzzball

      September 15, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
      • Chewbacca


        September 15, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
  28. anonymouse

    They should've named it Xenu just for a bit of fun...

    September 15, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
    • Travis


      September 15, 2011 at 8:35 pm |
  29. EmeraldCity

    Didn't the planet in Pitch Black have two suns? Or was it 3? Either way this rock has probably been similarly fried to a crisp.

    Oh to be scorched by Vin Diesel.

    September 15, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
    • I'm The Best!

      I think that one had two... But I think the planet on the episode of Futurama where Fry became the emperor of the water people by drinking the current emperor had three.

      September 15, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
  30. Johnson

    DAAAMMMMn! You'd need FPS 120 on that planet!

    September 15, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
    • Kat

      That would be SPF. Sun Protection Factor.

      September 16, 2011 at 6:38 am |
  31. Porkins

    Stay on target......

    September 15, 2011 at 4:16 pm |
  32. Woody20

    Lucas is probably on the phone with his attorney already. Just like he was with the word "droid".

    September 15, 2011 at 4:10 pm |
    • Doomguy

      No he isn't. The Kepler science team actually asked him for permission and Industrial Light and Magic had a representative at the press conference.

      September 15, 2011 at 4:16 pm |
    • Kat

      Lucas is actually known to be incredibly cool about stuff like this. He supports fan-made films and the like, and gave Seth McFarland full permission to lovingly parody Star Wars with The Family guy, and Seth Green with Robot Chicken. Lucas might not be able to make watchable films any more, but he's a notably nice guy.

      September 16, 2011 at 6:42 am |
  33. anis

    The name "Tatooine" was not invented by George Lucas. It is the name of the town where scenes from Star Wars were shot. It is in the south of Tunisia.

    September 15, 2011 at 4:06 pm |
    • Jackson

      The article doesn't say Lucas invented the name Tatooine, only that the fictional planet was imagined by him.

      September 15, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
    • Test tuber

      GTFO! Really? Do they have sand people around there?

      September 15, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
      • fimeilleur

        No, it's true... and the Hotel "Sidi Dris" is uncle Owen and aunt Beru's home. Super cool... still has the props. 🙂

        September 15, 2011 at 6:10 pm |
  34. frespech

    One of the most interesting, lighthearted and somewhat educational Blogs I've ever read.
    Congratulations Everyone.
    nannu-nannu & live long and prosper

    September 15, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
  35. ThoughtProcess

    I don't know how it's possible but SO many people seem to miss the obvious. Star Wars is NOT futuristic. It's not from the future. Note the first 3 words here: "LONG LONG AGO IN A GALAXY FAR FAR AWAY..."

    September 15, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
    • runninwild

      Ok smartypants...but does "long ago" refer 1977...or does it refer to sometime in the future. Meaning, when we arrive upon the Star Wars series it is maybe year 5243 and "long ago" refers to the story occurring in say, year 3721? By the way, it is "A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away..." Not long, long and far, far...that would just be silly.

      September 15, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
  36. Luke


    September 15, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
    • Owen


      September 15, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
    • Reason

      you know that little droid is going to get me into a lot of trouble!

      September 15, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
    • runninwild

      Man, he was a whiny little brat.

      September 15, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
    • Uncle Owen

      You can waste time with your friends after your chores are done.

      September 15, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
    • Aunt Beru

      Is it getting hot in here?

      September 15, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
  37. Johnny

    Two suns! 229 days to orbit it in one complete orbit? Sounds like there's an error. 2 planets (suns, in this instance) would have to be far enough not to get into each other's gravitational pull; consequently, if they are a binary (quite possible) the distance would have to be great enough that orbiting such a binary would be waaaay greater than 229 days. Some interesting data...curious how it will be tweeked and adjusted.

    September 15, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
    • jimmymax

      Depends how fast the suns are moving relative to one another, and their relative sizes. No one is claiming they are about the same size. And two objects can co-exist fairly closely as long as there is enough velocity in their orbits.

      September 15, 2011 at 4:13 pm |
    • I'm The Best!

      It all has to do with the mass of the planet. It just needs to have the correct rotational momentum to get into orbit and depending on the mass of the planet, it will have either a really close orbit (light planet for that short of a year) or one really far away (heavy planet for that short of a year). So if it's a really dense planet then it's entirely possible for it to have an orbit at a good distance while still having only a 229 day year.

      September 15, 2011 at 4:13 pm |
      • sweetpea

        When the article references 229 days, do they mean Earth days (an increment of time that we humans can grasp) or a Tatooine day (which would be the time Tatooine rotates on its own axis one complete time.) If it means a Tatooine day, then the length of that day could be anything, depending on how fast it is rotating, Theoretically, if it rotates slowly enough, it could revolve around the twin stars in ONE day.

        September 16, 2011 at 9:58 am |
    • Runmoe

      The planet travels really really fast.

      September 15, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
    • Reddragon

      What is the mathematical equation you used to work this out? And how did you calculate the distance of the planet from it's two stars?

      September 15, 2011 at 4:16 pm |
    • Alex Gessong

      @Johnny: it depends the planet's velocity. The orbit may be huge, but the orbital velocity could be much greater than Earth's. That would account for making a complete orbit in 229 Earth days.

      September 15, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
    • Man in tower

      A 5 ounce bird cannot carry a 1 lb coconut...

      September 15, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
      • MrId

        It could grip it by the husk.

        September 16, 2011 at 4:36 am |
    • Aletheya

      Why don't you google for authoritative information, rather than idly speculating? Try kepler.nasa.gov.

      The two suns are close to each other – less than the distance from the sun to Mercury. They orbit each other every 41 days. They are respectively 69% and 20% the size of the sun. The planet is .224 AU from the gravitational center of the binary system. The math works out just fine.

      September 15, 2011 at 6:12 pm |
  38. Richww2

    You'll never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.

    September 15, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
    • Neerav

      These aren't the droids your looking for.

      September 15, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
      • Mr Roark

        these aren't the Droids we are looking for

        September 15, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
  39. The Professor

    For those that don't believe GOD exists, I know he does because I SAW him on TV!!! He looks a lot like that old actor George Burns!

    September 15, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
    • mrPhillip

      Are you it wasn't Morgan freeman?

      September 15, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
    • Mark B.

      My guess is that joke will lose it's humor a few years into eternity. You can laugh and mock now – but you have at best a 50 – 50 chance of a not too comical afterlife. Jesus either is or isn't who He said He was. Black and white – just like that. Heaven or Hell. There's still time.

      September 15, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
      • Alex Gessong

        @Mark B: people have been saying "there's little time" for about 2,000 years. If God really wants everyone to know about Him and worship Him, wouldn't He reveal Himself to everyone? Why just speak to a few prophets once in a while and then say, "Now go an tell everyone about me and tell them to follow my laws."? And why make rational beings and then provide them no evidence of your existence? Think about it. There's as much proof of God's existence as there is proof that fairies and unicorns exist. Yet we don't believe in fairies and unicorns. Well, most of us don't anyway. Personally, I believe there is a God, but not because of stories I heard as a child. I also believe in planets orbiting binary stars. But at least there's actual objective proof of that, so that belief is rational. Unlike belief in a God.

        September 15, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
      • sam

        Oh here we go!

        September 15, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
      • Slash

        "At best"? There are thousands of deities throughout history! The odds that your imaginary friend is the real one is way, way, way lower than 50/50, pal.

        Incidentally, since NONE of them have any evidence of their existence, you're a lot better off just not wasting your time with such nonsense.

        And I don't care if you find my lack of faith disturbing. If religious followers could choke people through prayer, maybe they'd be taken a little more seriously.

        September 15, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
  40. ChaoticSuns

    Given the gravitational pull of binary stars that close together, I find it highly unlikely that any massive bosy will be able to hold orbit (let alone the 2 stars).

    September 15, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
    • Johnny

      You are absolutely right!! So many other variables aren't discussed or mentioned, such as size of suns, and distance between them.

      September 15, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
      • Doomguy

        Space.com has a better article with more details. Or you can go to the NASA JPL page for the kepler telescope and read the actual paper.

        September 15, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
    • Alex Gessong

      Well, guess we"ll just have to trust these scientists, who, unlike most of posting here, actually know what they're talking about. Unless you're an astronomer and have more data about this binary system than these scientists do, you're better off not trying to second-guess them, wouldn't you say?

      September 15, 2011 at 4:36 pm |
    • Some Guy

      The gravitational pull of two stars so close together is no different than the gravitational pull of one star with an equal mass. And heck, the (theorized) super black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy has an extremely high gravitational pull, and there are plenty of very massive bodies holding orbit around it.

      September 15, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
    • Aletheya

      You find wrong. The two stars are small – 69% and 20% the size of our sun. They orbit each other closely. From the point of view of the planet, it's the same as orbiting one start 89% the size of our sun.

      You know, there's something called "google" where you can look up authoritation information. Try kepler.nasa.gov, or space.com

      September 15, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
  41. Lila

    Haha great name for it. BTW all the extra details about the planet are very informative.

    September 15, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
  42. Pitch Black

    would have rather had a pitch black reference than star wars lol

    September 15, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
    • Doomguy

      That would actually make more sense since the plant is a saturn sized gas giant. No one knows if it has rings though. But in Pitch Black the planet was a moon of a gas giant whose rings and body would block the light of the multiple star system it orbited once every 30 years or so, allowing the native monsters to come out in the dark to play.

      September 15, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
  43. HockeyMinny


    September 15, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
    • WHYsoANGRY?

      URANUS* (Ha ha...)

      September 15, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  44. lucky pierre

    there's only two great and powerful tools in the omniverse

    the light saber

    and the

    September 15, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
    • RobS

      You forgot about "The Schwartz" as in "I see your Schwartz is as big as mine".

      September 15, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
      • MrId

        So when will then be now?

        September 16, 2011 at 7:07 am |
      • Krenum


        September 16, 2011 at 10:14 am |
  45. Snake Speaks

    Such a problem with shadows.

    September 15, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
  46. Crusty

    I wish I would have studied science in college because everything I'm interested in learning, discussing, writing, etc is about science. Who knew there was a geek inside me? Not me!

    September 15, 2011 at 3:47 pm |
    • Garnet69

      If you didn't know a geek was in you, either you have a really big orifice or the geek has a really small dingaling

      September 15, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
  47. Why?

    I don't see why they are giving these planets names. Maybe something else has already named it???

    September 15, 2011 at 3:47 pm |
    • Reason

      yeah, cause humans NEVER took over areas of the earth and named them as their own even if they had been previously occupied.

      September 15, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
    • Brian

      No big deal is it? I am sure Earth has many different names from the other intelligent beings out there giving us their own name.

      September 16, 2011 at 6:43 am |
  48. mongpoo

    I didn't even know we had lost it!

    September 15, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
  49. Wally Balloo

    Big deal – I have two sons as well. Good kids. Oh, wait....

    September 15, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
    • mongopoo

      Where did you learn to spell?

      September 15, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
      • Reddragon


        September 15, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
      • verypunny

        really? REALLY?

        September 15, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
    • Vernix

      the majority of posts on CNN forums just make me shake my head and wonder how some people can be so stupid. Your comment actually made me laugh! Thumbs up, and where is the "Like" button?!

      September 15, 2011 at 3:46 pm |
      • hawkechik

        Not stupid precisely, more like "willfully ignorant." That said, I'm with you – where's the "like" button? Never met a pun I didn't like.

        September 15, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
      • Trolling...

        And the fact that I see 2 serious responses to Wally's comment makes me shake my head. @Vernix & Mongopoo. Did it ever occur to you that his post may not have been intended to be serious? Lmao, what idiots. You can't even sense a simple troll comment.

        September 15, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
    • nobody special

      ^^^ LOL!

      September 15, 2011 at 3:50 pm |
      • mongopoo

        We got it Trolling...maybe you didn't.

        September 15, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
    • Joe in PA

      I dunno what's more funny, Wally's comment or the "poo" guy who didn't pick up on it.

      September 15, 2011 at 4:10 pm |
      • suefri


        September 15, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
      • Rivera

        So he punned suns and sons. I dont get it why its so funny? If thats all it is youre all lame. If theres more to it then please explain.

        September 15, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
  50. XRaDiiX

    The best part about these new Planet Discoveries is all the Religious (self Righteous A-holes) Who actually believe all objects pictures of stuff from space are fake.

    They say the its a Test the Devil is 'testing their/our Faith with'

    Yeah that's special.. @_@

    I knew a ignorant African (Because yes most of them are ignorant) who once claimed that all the pictures of space were fake and the Devil was testing our Faith.

    God to think these cavemen thinking people still dwell on our Earth is beyond me. (Let Alone in our Civilized 1st World)

    If you could even Call it 1st world anymore... lol.....

    September 15, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
    • Bitter Much?

      You need therapy!

      September 15, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
    • Ron

      Wow. For someone who thinks they are superior to others, you come off as darn near illiterate.

      September 15, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
      • Runmoe

        I'm with you Ron.

        September 15, 2011 at 4:36 pm |
    • pen swordsman

      bigotry is ignorance

      September 15, 2011 at 4:10 pm |
    • Rob

      You are embarrassing yourself. Most of the people commenting on this thread are intelligent. You...not so much.

      September 15, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
  51. lucky pierre

    you turn this into a god no god debate lol
    seems like the one is playing a game with itself again

    before all things there was the one
    the one undergoes a process of amnesia during division
    first splitting up into matter and anti matter
    then manifesting as infinite lifeforms evolving over time into sentient beings in order to remember itself

    there is no limit to the infinite one
    there is no limit to the infinite all

    religious fanatics and atheists are just confused egos of the micro self
    some believe "god" can be defined by mans egocentric ideas
    others deny all possibilities outside of human based empiricism

    the ultimate truth is non-dual macro self
    it is non-centric

    what was before time and space

    what will be after all things

    what is all things at once and nothing at all

    the apex of all future evolution is a return to the one

    September 15, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
    • alateos

      The fact is, man's process of defining/knowing involves taking an infinite world and simplifying it into measurable units. Knowing about God by definition is a simplification/embodiment of infinity. So even if this infinite power existed in that human form that everyone loves to have, knowing it wouldn't be anything special.

      September 15, 2011 at 6:08 pm |
  52. DerangedSerenity

    Now George Lucas is going to add a third sun in the next Blu-Ray re-re-re-release of Star Wars.

    September 15, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
    • Doomguy


      September 15, 2011 at 4:22 pm |
    • sam


      September 15, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
  53. XRaDiiX

    I saw "Creature"

    I saw "Planet"

    I saw "Planet Snookie"

    I saw "Planet Wookie"

    September 15, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
    • Dave

      Snookie's the big one. A Jovian gas ball.

      September 15, 2011 at 3:49 pm |
  54. laughing soup fork

    vegetation withers,lakes begin to dry

    September 15, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
    • Dune

      Sounds like Arrakis – didn't Frank Herbert's desert planet also have 2 suns – well in advance of Lucas >

      September 15, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
      • Tina J.

        Thank you! Finally a voice from the outer darkness.

        September 15, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
      • Kat

        Best scifi book ever written.

        September 16, 2011 at 6:52 am |
  55. The all potent one

    THese are not the droids you are looking for

    September 15, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
  56. Stephen Hawking Knows More Than You

    With double the bronze tanning capability, it should be called Planet Snooky or Jersey Star.

    September 15, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
  57. I'm The Best!

    This is really cool news, I'm a little surprised there's a planet orbiting a binary system though. I would've thought the gravity fluxuations from the stars passing closer and further away would be too much for a sustained orbit. But I guess I would've been wrong. It probably still has to be a much more wobbly orbit than anything in our solar system.

    September 15, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
    • Bucklee

      Example – Sun, Earth, Moon – it's the same thing

      September 15, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
      • David Myers

        "Its the same thing as earth, moon and sun" in that they are three stellar bodies two of which are within the same range of mass (the moon and the earth). But in this example, the two stellar bodies that are in the same range of mass are the two suns which have immensly more mass (either one of them) than the planet that orbits both of them. The planet would be orbiting the two suns in an eplipsed orbit (it would likely be orbiting around the equilibrium point (in terms of comparative mass) between the two suns (assuming they are both orbiting around such a common point). The much smaller mass of the planet would be substantially affected by the mutual rotation of the two suns around each other (the common point between them) – (whenever the two sons eclipsed each other their gravational pull in one direction or vector combined would exceed the gravitation pull of the two suns when they are spaced out and pulling in two directions (two different vectors). I would anticipate that the orbit of the planet around this star would be very erratic (possibly in a predictable fashion, but would in no way resemble a circular orbit or even a perfectly elliptical orbit. If such a planet had any significant amount of liquid of any kind, it would have massive changes of tides dependant on the changing allignment of the gravitational forces of the two suns. Hard to imagine having the stability of environmental factors likely necessary to sustain life.

        September 16, 2011 at 3:42 am |
  58. chris

    Looks like I'm going nowhere... I'm gonna finish cleaning those 'droids.

    September 15, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
  59. Karim Benayed

    Regarding Tatooine, George Lucas does not own that name.

    Tatooine is a governorate in the south of Tunisia edging the Sahara desert. George Lucas was inspired by the area and named the city in the movie after it.

    I was born in Tunisia and will sue Mr. George Lucas if he claims by near or far any rights to the name Tatooine. This will be like claiming the name of New York City or Savannah ...

    That said, I am sure you all have Tunisia's blessing to officially name Kepler-16b Tattoine so please go ahead and do so as Kepler-16b honestly does not cut it !!! 🙂

    Best regards,

    Karim Benayed

    September 15, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
    • Les

      Cool Beans!

      Thanks, I learned something today!

      September 15, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      I'm quite certain that you're right. The residents would be happy to have an entire planet named for their home. 🙂

      But, the orbital dynamics of that planet is the stuff migraines are made of...

      September 15, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
      • Karim Benayd

        That is absolutely true. No one can argue with that. I can only began to image the pressure the surface goes through by the that complex gravitational and orbital pull model.

        September 15, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
      • fimeilleur

        naw... I've been there... I was the only one outside the hotel Sidi Dris in Matmatta who new anything about StarWars... Sorry Karim, the locals don't care much for the movies. Love your homeland though. 🙂

        September 15, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
    • Phil

      Awesome post!

      September 15, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
  60. tormencha

    They also forget to calculate the fact that due to the laws of nature you can never truely travel at the speed of light regardless. So the calculations would have to reflect a 1% difference in the speed of light vs. time. Thank you Mr. Hawkins and I do believe your due for a tire rotation.

    September 15, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
    • I'm The Best!

      They also forgot to mention that the travelers on the ship moving the speed of light would be there instantly. It would only take 200 years for the people not on the ship.

      September 15, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
      • MDillon

        I believe that is incorrect. It would take 200 years elapsed time for the crew of the ship. To those outside of the ship, however, far more than 200 years would elapse. I come up with 642 years of elapsed time on earth for a ship going 95% of the speed of light.

        September 15, 2011 at 3:45 pm |
      • I'm The Best!

        Due to time dilation, the time for the person traveling at the speed of light slows to a stop. Therefore the trip would be instantaneous for the people on the ship if they were traveling at the speed of light and take 200 years for people not on the ship.

        If they were going to 95% the speed of light, it would take them a while longer, and the people not on the ship longer still. I'm not going to do the math now since I'm at work and supposed to be doing that anyways, but I'm sure wikipedia can tell you all about it. Just look up Time Dilation and it should help.

        September 15, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
      • MDillon

        Perhaps it is you that should review your physics. Relative to the ship – the clocks on earth would slow-down. If a ship is traveling at ANY velocity, the time elapsed for those for those on on the ship is absolutely normal. So traveling 200 light years distance, at 99.99% of the speed of light – will take 200 years for those on the spaceship. It is those not on the spaceship that will experience time-dilation.

        Traveling at 100% of the speed of light is not theoretically possible.

        September 15, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
      • David Myers

        Sorry "I'm the Best", you're not. As it is explained below, it would not be instantaneous or even seem instantaneous to the people on board the ship, even if the ship reached 99% of the speed of light. It would still take 200 years to those on board. You opinion of your own understanding of physics is very over-rated.

        September 16, 2011 at 3:56 am |
      • oldostritch

        Relativity tells us that apparent time elapsed is dependent on the square of the speed differential from c. Thus traveling half the speed of light it would appear to take 150 years to travel 200 light years. At 95% c it would appear to take about 20 years travel time. Outside observers seeing from starting point frame of reference would see the journey taking 350 years in first case and 220 years in second.

        September 16, 2011 at 10:09 am |
    • JMan

      Yeah, and 500 years ago, humans were SURE that the world was flat, and that the sun orbited US.

      Just because we have laws now that says something is impossible, doesn't mean that we'll later be able to break those laws or even completely disprove them.

      Going at, or faster than the speed of light is impossible now.

      But what about in 1000 years? Or 2000 years? Look at how our society has changed in the past 100 years, and how technology is constantly rewriting what we know about science. Colonizing space and traveling through it isn't science fiction. It's just something we aren't fully capable of yet.

      September 15, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
      • Ron

        First, Ptolemy measured the circumference of the Earth around 2000 years ago, and that was only to get a measurement on an already known fact. So no, people did NOT think the Earth was flat 500 years ago. But we will like NOT ever "break the speed of light". Light caps out at that speed because that speed is a physical limitation of the universe. If you could go faster, light would likely do so. If we are going to get somewhere quicker, it will be by some other method than "traveling faster".

        September 15, 2011 at 4:13 pm |
      • Isolated

        Now, the economy is fiat and the world orbits the U.S. Things have changed so much!

        September 15, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
      • Bennett

        What about time warp?

        September 15, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
      • Sandman101

        Personally I think that Frank Herbert in writing Dune or Star Trek may have the best Ideas to slove that issue. Both have concepted the idea of somehow folding space (that is what warp is); however, the concept is a very long way off, not to mention the physics and mathimatical issues that arise from our very simple understanding of how the universe works.

        September 15, 2011 at 7:47 pm |
      • Dr Spock

        Actually, no.

        The Kasimir effect can be induced and has been induced at micro scales already. Quantum teleportation.

        Additionally, you and your beloved infallible Einstein still can't explain away measurable macroscopic events like the EPR Paradox ("Spooky action at a distance"), Intereference Patterns, and a hundred other things. Einstein was smart– but was not infallible and he didn't know everything. We owe him much, but people cling to some of his (bad) ideas as nearly as tenaciously as religious fanatics.

        Science is a process of discovery. Einstein, a brilliant scientist, would be ashamed of how partisan many people are over what was only a theory, an idea to be explored and expanded upon.

        Try a physics class from sometime since 1954.

        September 16, 2011 at 8:00 am |
  61. Julie

    Wow, imagine the tan Snooky could get with two suns ... if she ever ventured outside of a spray=tan salon!

    September 15, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
  62. R2D2 aka shopvac

    Have they found any aliens yet? Who cares about stupid planets, I want aliens with fish heads that want to take over the world. These scientists really need to get their priorities straight.

    September 15, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
    • boogietime

      It's a Trap!

      September 15, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
  63. Pedro Gonzalezzzzzzz

    When can we send Snookie off to this place??

    September 15, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
  64. Peacefulguy

    Star Wars was sent to us from the future to begin to open our eyes to what is actually out there. Get ready for more Star Wars revelations to begin to reveal themselves to our planet.

    September 15, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
    • TekGyrl

      Is it really necessary for the writer to state "about 200 light years from Earth in the constellation Cygnus. Getting to Tatooine aboard a spacecraft traveling at light speed – 186,282 miles per second – would take about two centuries."
      If he stated the distance at 200 light years and were in a spacecraft traveling at the speed of light...wouldn't that automatically tell an intelligent individual approximitely how long it would take you to get there??

      Are we really that stupid?

      September 15, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
      • Astronerd

        Yup, sorry.

        September 15, 2011 at 7:50 pm |
  65. XRaDiiX

    The best part about these new Planet Discoveries is all the Religious (self Righteous A-holes) Who actually believe all objects pictures of stuff from space are fake.

    They say the its a Test the Devil is 'testing their/our Faith with'

    Yeah that's special.. @_@

    I knew a ignorant African (Because yes most of them are ignorant) who once claimed that all the pictures of space were fake and the Devil was testing our Faith.

    God to think these cavemen thinking people still dwell on our Earth is beyond me. (Let Alone in our Civilized 1st World)

    If you could even Call it 1st world anymore... lol

    September 15, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
    • Smart African

      Listen to me dude, Africains are not ignorant. you're ignorant because you know nothing about Africains. They are a lot more cognizant than you are. Incidently, you should take some grammar classes during summer vacation.

      September 16, 2011 at 7:31 am |
  66. LogicReason

    Who wants a tan!!!

    September 15, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
    • what next

      Two suns in the sunset Could be the human race is run Pink Floyd, Two suns in the sunset, The Final Cut

      September 15, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
  67. erich2112x

    It's about quality, not quantity.

    September 15, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
  68. Michelle

    This was not the planet I was looking for.

    September 15, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
  69. Steve

    Article headline should read: Planet Found Orbiting Binary Star System.

    Binary stars are extremely common.

    September 15, 2011 at 3:01 pm |
  70. Riddick

    Actually when I read 2 suns I thought of Pitch Black instead of Star Wars. Someone inform me when the ship leaves so I can execute destiny.

    September 15, 2011 at 3:01 pm |
  71. XRaDiiX

    More Proof Pappa Zombie Lord Doesn't Exist. Humans and their Fallacy of Supreme Creators who they believe Earth is Special.

    Jabba The Hutt Mutha Frutha wabba has something to say about that. Die Skywalker....

    September 15, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
    • SAM

      Pitch Black anyone?

      September 15, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
    • erich2112x

      You're right dude, we created the universe, me and you. We just smushed a bunch of dirt clods together and threw them out into space.

      September 15, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
    • Mobius.Eight

      Pappa Nurgle? He's a cool guy.

      September 15, 2011 at 3:49 pm |
  72. patNY

    I have a BAAAAD feeling about this!

    September 15, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
    • BinkterCannon

      For that is the Necromonger way!

      September 15, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
  73. Kevin in Atlanta

    Let me know when you guys find Aldeeran.......wait, no, nevermind....

    September 15, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
    • rynno

      best comment ever

      September 15, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
    • RHCP

      Aldeeran's not far away, it's Californication.

      September 15, 2011 at 3:03 pm |
    • Kool Aid


      September 15, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
    • Peacefulguy

      It is our duty to stop the Death Star now before its destruction!

      September 15, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
  74. Mike

    Love it! My dog's name is Kepler!!

    September 15, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
    • Norm

      Now....why couldn't they just name it Tatooine?
      That would have been cool.
      Stuffy scientists have no sense of theatre.
      No wonder most people never pay any attention to them.
      The scientific community needs a good PR man.

      September 15, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
      • ed

        George Luca$ would have sued!

        September 15, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
  75. Coolbreeze

    Maybe Life after death in a new planet where everything is better than this wicked world. Maybe god has a different path for us after death...

    September 15, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
    • Les

      Yes... Fertilizer

      September 15, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
  76. old enuff

    229 days in a year? that would make me 74... do they have any planets with 700 day years?

    September 15, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
    • Chris

      It'd make me 44. I'm not ready for middle age!

      September 15, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
      • Garnet69

        Easy now.....44 isn't quite middle age, you little whippersnapper

        September 15, 2011 at 6:13 pm |
    • ed

      Mars I believe is close to 700 days.

      September 15, 2011 at 3:01 pm |
    • Joepub

      I would be 67 years old.

      September 15, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
  77. Old Ben

    All I know is, that's no moon!

    September 15, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
    • Darth inVader

      You Rebel scum!

      September 15, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
  78. RJWTimes Bradford England

    A very interesting blog. Yet another good CNN blog I will be reading soon.

    September 15, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
  79. jim

    Jabba no botha. Jabba smoka marijuana.

    September 15, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
  80. Rob

    I'm seeing users write "the closest planet to Earth..." but what I see in the article says "(The closest star to earth is about 4 light years away.)" Either the auther realized his mistake and is REALLY an idiot by changing the wrong words, or all of you who have commented on it are idiots for talking about the closest planet to Earth when the article I just copied and pasted makes no mention of it. In any case, to all idiots out there, Sol is the closest star to earth. It's more commonly known as our sun, and if memory serves, it takes light somewhere in the neighborhood of 8 minutes to reach earth, not four years!

    September 15, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
    • Rob

      and of course, I misspelled "author" for all to see...

      September 15, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
      • mikky10

        Rob, is such an idiot. For one he can't spell and secondly he has minimal aptitude to comprehend the jest of the story and fundamental durations specified for space travel with regard to light years

        September 15, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
    • Chris R

      Pedantic much?

      September 15, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
      • Rob

        I don't see how it's pedantic...
        Someone gets paid to present facts in a CNN article.
        Someone gets paid to read and edit the presentation of those facts.
        Perhaps, even someone ELSE posts those facts.
        Then, somebody went back and attempted to fix the error. They failed, and in doing so, presented a completely separate false fact.

        I have to work with people M-F who make my life more difficult because they are too lazy to present quality work and/or don't have pride in how they do things. When that happens, I lose time. Time is very precious to me and my family. There's no excuse for presenting such rubbish.

        September 15, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
    • elandau

      Rob, we have corrected this error so now the article has the correct fact.

      Thanks for reading!
      Elizabeth Landau, CNN

      September 15, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
      • Rob

        Thank you! I would love to feel like I can trust cnn.com to present me with facts and truth in the future!

        September 15, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
  81. Pete samson

    wait, what is star wars?

    September 15, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
    • Darth Bobby

      I find your lack of "humor" disturbing...

      September 15, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
    • Prince Gilgamesh

      It's military build up under Reagan.

      September 15, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
    • Evolutionism

      Star wars – exactly what would happen if the governments of Earth both found intelligent life in space and had space vehicles capable of intER-solar system travel, instead of just intRA-solar system travel!

      September 15, 2011 at 3:03 pm |
    • C3PO

      I'm 12 years old and what is this?

      September 15, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
  82. yeti37

    It's weird to think that the light we are seeing from the system left it when the US was very young and on the verge of war with England in 1812. And we'd look pretty primitive to them right now since we'd be seen in ships and wagons; no trains, planes, nor automobiles.

    September 15, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
    • Chris

      Makes you think how much of an unpleasant surprise we would be if an alien invasion showed up, expecting to fight muskets or even swordsmen, and found out we'd invented nukes while they were in cryosleep lol

      September 15, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
    • pirate

      I would imagine it would be very difficult for life to evolve on a planet with two suns as there would never be any consistent steady temperature. I would guess the weather would go to "extreme" extremes there...

      September 15, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
  83. D

    Oh J... God called and said don't make any big plans for next week.
    Even the devil believes in God...

    September 15, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
  84. Levi

    we nailed it! thats where all the missing single socks from the dryer go to!

    September 15, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
    • Jabba

      Ho Ho Ho Ho Ho!

      September 15, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
      • Darth Bobby

        egweana da telu istala Han Solo...ho ho ho ho

        September 15, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
  85. schubb

    Uh what?

    "The closest planet to earth is about 4 light years away" it takes about 8 months to get to Mars for a normal spacecraft that no where nears the speed of light. Even at the greatest point of seperation, Mars is only 250 million or so miles from the Earth. Light gets to Earth in about 9 minutes crossing 93 million miles, therefore 2.5 times that is only 23 minutes...far from one lightyear's worth of difference.

    September 15, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
    • Giggity

      . (The closest star to earth outside our solar system is about 4 light years away.) Schubb i dub thee an Idiot.

      September 15, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
      • schubb

        Giggity, you be the idiot my friend, may I quote for you:


        We have corrected this error so now the article has the correct fact.

        Thanks for reading!
        Elizabeth Landau, CNN

        September 15, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
  86. skytag

    "200 light years from Earth in the constellation Cygnus. Getting to Tatooine aboard a spacecraft traveling at light speed – 186,282 miles per second – would take about two centuries."

    Yes, that's what it means to be "200 light years from Earth." Sheesh.

    September 15, 2011 at 2:27 pm |
    • A

      So,how long WOULD it take to get there?

      September 15, 2011 at 2:44 pm |
      • Darth Bobby

        Considering that the fastest satalite travels 5 miles a second and the sped of light is 186000 miles per second
        SO 5/186000= 148,800 years. (37200 times 4) I am no math wiz but I too was wondering. I may be wrong but I am thinking I did the math right.

        September 15, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
      • Darth Bobby

        akk many typos sorry hit enter by accident

        September 15, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
      • boogietime

        You want Voyager II space probe. That one should be able to do it a bit quicker since it is doing about 11 or 12 miles per second.

        September 15, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
      • Chance

        They are working on a new propulsion system for probes / robots that will use Jupiter to build up speed via (magnetism) which will get an object near to the speed of light. And can be used to hop from system to system. (of coarse a human would never work; u would be ripped apart.)

        September 15, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
      • Photobones

        I seem to recall reading that if a human in superb athletic shape accelerated at a rate just short of passing out, it would take about a month (every minute, 24 hrs / day for 30 days, or so) to reach light speed! Of course, the other problem is putting the brakes on at the other end! After expending how much fuel (???) to accelerate your ship for a month, now you have to decelerate for a month firing the retros.

        The earth's escape velocity is usually considered to be 25,000 mph, so, if you just wanna cruise at that speed, you could make the trip in a mere 5,369,863.01 (5,4 million years)

        September 22, 2011 at 11:48 pm |
    • David

      This would be the time it would take from an observer on earth. From the perspective of the traveler in the space craft the time taken would be quite short, depending on how close to the speed of light the craft was traveling relative to earth. This is the time dilation effect of special relativity.

      September 15, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
    • Keel Hauler

      My station wagon could make it in a few days, star questing powerful beast that it is.

      September 15, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
  87. Jabba

    oonie ta la suktil? Yabba nil tol eeenu. Choloc til mesa.

    September 15, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
  88. James

    As I began to read this I felt a grave disturbance in the force.

    September 15, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
    • Ed

      that was just the burrito you eat for lunch

      September 15, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
      • suefri

        Hee! Hee!

        September 15, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
  89. Astronomy Enthusiast

    Just wanted to let the author know that the nearest planet (since he didn't qualify it with "outside our solar system") is Venus, and it's less than 1 AU away (distance to the sun from Earth).

    September 15, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
    • q

      And the nearest star is the Sun, which is 8 light minutes away....

      September 15, 2011 at 2:27 pm |
    • TheMovieFan

      Not always. Both Mercury and Mars can sometimes be closer.

      September 15, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
    • PPRUS

      thanks poindexter

      September 15, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
      • Gorok

        Oh my God, what a geekfest on here. FYI, a light year is the distance that light travels in one year at 186,000 miles per second which is about 6 Trillion miles. Everything is so far away that we can only imagine going to another world. It's fun to dream though, and to explore!

        September 15, 2011 at 3:03 pm |
  90. Alex

    The last few weeks have yielded some incredible finds – a diamond planet, a jet-black planet, now "Tatooine". At the rate they're going it won't be long before they announce that they've spotted city lights on an exo-planet.

    September 15, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
    • huh?

      that'd be awesome

      September 15, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
    • yeti37

      they should dub the black planet "Vader"...

      September 15, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
      • Darth Bobby

        Noooooooooooooooooooooooo! just kidding I like it

        September 15, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
    • todd in DC

      They should name the diamond planet, Monroe.

      September 15, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
      • cp in pa

        The should call that planent "NWA' because of fear of a black planet.

        September 15, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
      • Jeva

        I was actually thinking more Midnight a la Doctor Who for the diamond one.

        September 16, 2011 at 7:26 am |
    • mutantlexi

      @cp in pa: I think you mean planet Public Enemy, not NWA

      September 15, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
  91. Adam

    "(The closest planet to earth is about 4 light years away.)"

    Just to clarify, you're referring to the nearest planet outside of our solar system. Mars is actually the closest planet at about 34-36 million miles. Venus is about 38 million.

    September 15, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
    • q

      The article said star not planet...

      September 15, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
      • schubb

        That article was just updated as I copied the text from the article in my earlier post.

        September 15, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
    • elandau

      Yes we have fixed this error, thank you!

      Elizabeth Landau, CNN

      September 15, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
    • ?

      Can you guys even read? It says star.

      September 15, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
      • Alexander

        If you took e time to read the entire post that he wrote and what everyone else wrote before you , you would have realized and understood that the editors at CNN fixed/switched a word because of a typo error and that is why his post did not make any since is because he was quoting something that was later fixed/changed by CNN. Why in the world don't people read the entireost before replying? Makes no since to me, it said there was a 3-4 minute difference between CNN's post about fixing it and if you woud have read it completely you would have seen that the article used to say something different.. LOL

        September 15, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
  92. Chris from Iowa

    "The closest planet to earth is about four light years away." So much for the Mars mission, I guess. Wow, can I replace your fact-checker?

    September 15, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
    • Thang Tran

      Actually, Venus is closer in orbit to Earth there is a possibility that Mars further away from Earth currently then even Mercury.

      September 15, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
  93. Keel Hauler

    This is not surprising, since most star systems have 2 or more stars. Our own solar system is a minority in that it only has one star.

    September 15, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
  94. J

    More proof God doesn't exist.

    September 15, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
    • huh?

      try harder. doesnt disprove sh*t and im not religious but it annoys the hell out of me when people claim to know it all.

      September 15, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
      • Stvnkrs10

        agreed, wtf does this have to do with God? Next thing the idiot will blame Obama for the lack of possible life in the said system.

        September 15, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
    • bob

      you can not prove something does not exist

      September 15, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
      • huh?

        you people are comical.

        September 15, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
      • matt houston

        Why would you need to prove something which does not exist? It is already done for you. Look under your bed, all over the world...ask everyone if he/she has seen a god. For all intensive purposes as far as human experience is concerned, there is not god in existence currently. when a burning bush or snake talks to people or winged beings come down from the sky with a flaming sword...we can have this chat about God. Otherwise show me any mythological being from the bible since the bible has described them.

        Nobody can show anyone any supernatural being described in the Bible. Therefore the burden of proof is on them.

        September 15, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
      • huh?

        not when their concept is to believe. thats all they need to do. its up to you know-it-alls to disprove it. so come back when you've achieved Omniscience. till then keep up the ignorance.

        September 15, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
      • frespech

        Bob were not asking you to disprove God. This article is about a planet, a star, or Luke Skywalker nothing else.

        September 15, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
      • physics

        @matt – "for all intensive purposes"...really? That has to be one of the oddest misrepresentations of a phrase I've ever seen.

        September 15, 2011 at 6:11 pm |
    • matt houston

      No, more proof the Abrahamic God doesn't exist. Who knows what ultimate reality will consist of. We can't even imagine the 4th dimension let alone 26 dimensions. We can only draw the shadow of a simple 4 dimensional object like the tesseract but we can show what it actually looks like since we live in 3d. Certainly there is a 4th dimension and if so it means that there might be living things in it which could in theory look into our world as we look onto a 2d surface and see the insides and outside of objects simultaneously...like a square or circle. Such an ability would be "god-like" even if the being was not very smart.

      September 15, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
      • iownccc

        There's a new invention that might be a welcome distraction to your physics, astro physics and quantum mechanics...it's called "woman." Get some soon...

        September 15, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
      • Put a Piece of Plywood Over It or Something

        Matt – For all your alleged knowledge and intellectual superiority, you should know there is no such thing as "intensive purposes". I mean, what is that? Does that make any sense whatsoever? The phrase is "intents and purposes". You should really get your glass house in order before casting stones.

        September 15, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
      • Chris

        Finding evidence of a planet outside our solar system does not prove God doesn't exist. It proves a planet exists, nothing more. I'm not a believer in God, but I know when to draw the line in my argument. You may as well say that God doesn't exist because Justin Bieber wears women's pants. They are not related an you cannot use it a basis for your argument.

        September 15, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
      • dudley0418

        Even a cool new discovery leads to a debate with atheists. If one cannot imagine a being with greater intellect and abilities than humans have currently, maybe one shouldn't debate. Human intellect remains constant. Technology moves forward. We aren't getting smarter, we're just getting better at extrapolating data.

        September 15, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
    • Beinw

      Uh.....yeah.... That and Tribbles...! You're obviously a genious! Can I be your friend or do those not exist either?

      September 15, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
      • matt houston

        cuckoo, cuckoo, cuckoo....

        When you get an education in physics, astro physics, quantum mechanics...you can come back and belittle anyone you want. Otherwise write down your reasoning as I did in my comment or keep your ignorance hidden in silence.

        September 15, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
      • dudley0418

        Matt, in your world education defines value, probably since you may have some, or have read some obscure articles. In the world of the rest of us even an uneducated person has value, whether or not they use a vocabulary based in one of the sciences. You should understand this, and from this perspective see that one is worth rather less than the other. I'm sure you feel that the valuable one is you. The majority likely have another opinion, but since I cannot speak for the majority I have only conjecture.

        September 15, 2011 at 5:57 pm |
  95. Rich

    As long as they don't find a planet's remnants destroyed by a large space base and call it Alderaan, we're OK.

    September 15, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
    • Darth inVader

      Allow me to demonstrate the power of this fully operational battle station!

      September 15, 2011 at 2:27 pm |
    • Tea Party Express (Live from the Star Destroyer - Titan)

      Where do you think the Asteroid Belt came from?

      MUUU HA HA HA,Alderaan's taxes were too high and it was hyper liberal. That's what happens when you gut the military and give all your taxes to welfare mommas. KA-BOOM!

      Unfortunately, we discovered two escape craft that survived the blast and landed in Taxachusetts and Northern California...

      September 15, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
  96. Levi O'Brien

    The closest star to Earth is ~4 Light Years. The closest planet is venus, which at its closest is about 38 million km away.

    September 15, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
    • elandau

      We have corrected this, thanks!

      Elizabeth Landau, CNN

      September 15, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
  97. Austin

    "(The closest planet to earth is about 4 light years away.)" I know it was probably an oversight, but you might have wanted to note that you meant "closest planet to Earth outside of our solar system." Last I checked, Venus is only about 38 million km away.

    September 15, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
    • Jack

      As far as I know we aren't (yet) aware that the closest star to us (other than our sun) has any planets as some of you have stated. Proxima Centauri is the closest STAR.

      September 15, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
      • ed

        Why haven't we been able to detect any planets orbiting Alpha or Proxima centauri? With these new methods and being so "close" to home, you'd think we would have by now?

        September 15, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
      • Evolutionism

        Ah, but there are soooo many great things to see on the 3rd rock from Sol! Wars! Fatal diseases! Natural disasters! Corruption-caused famines! Global warming! Approaching asteroids! The end of CHEAP oil/water! (Wait, on second thought I'd trade all my worldly posessions for a chance at starting a new society, on a new planet, in a different solar system on the other side of the galaxy!)

        September 15, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
      • basketcase

        Maybe they're not there to find...

        September 15, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
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