NASA Spacecraft Discovers Planet Orbiting 2 Suns, Just Like Star Wars

MOUNTAIN VIEW (CBS SF) – The National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Kepler spacecraft has found a planet that orbits two stars just as Luke Skywalker’s home world does in the Star Wars movies, NASA announced Thursday.

An orange sun and a red sun that actually orbit each other define daytime on Kepler 16b, the 21st planet outside our own solar system discovered by  planet hunter.

KCBS’ Matt Bigler Reports:

The resemblance between the newest exo-planet and the fantasy world Tatooine envisioned by George Lucas ends on the horizon, said scientists at the NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View.

Kepler 16b is a cold, gaseous planet similar to Saturn.

“We don’t expect Luke Skywalker, or anything else, to be living on Kepler 16b,” said Nick Gautier, project scientist for the Kepler project.

Still, the theme music that played during the iconic film moment when Luke Skywalker gazes at two setting suns played as NASA revealed the discovery Thursday.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

More from Matt Bigler
  • Ellen Blue

    Hey, has your Kepler planet story on KCBS radio fallen through the cracks? You keep saying it’s “coming up,” but I’ve been listening for about 2 hours now, and haven’t heard it yet, although you’ve said a couple of times now that it’s coming up. Your Web page coverage looks pretty good by the way. Probably the minute I submit this, it will air….Tired of hearing about Bachman, I have to say.

    • NetNinja

      I envision 3 suns orbiting an ocean planet. Please feel free to quote my story of “The silly quote to publish a story to most likely get read”.

      “A long time ago in a eliptical galaxy far and a long way from here” Queue scary orchestral music.

      A white round frisbe avoiding a asteroid field. Oh noessss! the frisbe is damaged!

  • AJ Buttacavoli

    Is this an example of life imitating art or art imitating life?

    • CR

      Chicken or the Egg?

      • Omeca

        that debate has been settled. The chicken came first. Do some research.

  • glenp

    most stars are BINARY SYSTEMS so a 2 star find is not special

    who knows about planets around binaries

    • caligula

      thank goodness we had acclaimed scientist and astro-genius GlenP here to make those losers at NASA look stupid and irrelevant for getting excited about a binary star system. oh wait…the excitement is not about a binary star system but the first planet ever discovered orbiting a binary star system. nevermind.

      • RobertT

        The point he was making was that the vast majority of systems are binary systems. NASA has already made it clear that most systems have planets, therefor, if most systems are binary and most systems have planets, most binary systems have planets.

    • Tom W.

      Twice the amount of Global Warming. We must alert Jabba the Hut Algore.

      • Marc

        How dare you!? I am reporting you to AttackWatch. I am also reporting Kepler 16b for being a cold planet… obvious global warming denier.

  • Maggie Fanelli

    Is there any possible way they could name it Tatooine? Or do they have a BETTER idea?

  • harleyd

    What??? No Luke Skywalker???? How about Mel Brooks? Could he be there?

  • Zak

    Don’t believe any of the lies that the Liberals will tell you

  • Joe Doakes

    We had better start building rockets and settling the moon.

    Looks like we are going to need some practice before we find out that we are not alone.

    Those who don’t prepare, tend to become lunch.

  • Ralph McGehee

    May the Force be with you.

  • Sailordude

    Luke, trust Obama, he is your father.

    • Mice

      NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! That’s not true!

    • Ray S

      Just another drone, sent over from the Drudge Report.

  • JoeShmo1979

    Saturn like, yes, but So what? Has anyone thought about Titan, moon of Saturn being somewhat similar to Earth? And the possibility that Saturns with such a moon may be somewhat common? Being in a two star system, would that not imply a possibility of a warm Titan? There has not been enough mentioned about the possibilities of these gas giants discovered being host to habitable moons. Current technology and methods do not yet have the sensitivity to detect such moons. I would imagine that searching for them around already discovered extrasolar gas giants has been considered by someone.

  • Diogenes

    Don’t those NASA “political” scientists read all of George Lucas’ notes. He actually filmed the Tatooine scenes on location at Kepler 16B?

  • Hans

    aaannnd here comes the lawsuits against NASA from George Lucas claiming theyre infringing on his intellectual property!!!

    • Devon


  • Tedbugg

    If Superman went to Kepler 16b…….would he just be Mediumman?

  • Beez

    Hey, “journalists”…how about actually telling us the stars the planet orbits around and some other relevant details, for those of us unable to watch the video?

  • Jack Deeson

    Dude, you have to admit that is like really really cool! Wow.

  • Ratt

    Danggit, CBS, your page reloads before the video finishes.

  • The Cryptojournalist

    Obi-Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope. Of charting a route to this part of the galaxy

  • whatsuphonky

    I bet there is so serious global warming going on up there! We HAVE to get Al Gore on this one!

  • Mice

    So that must mean…we are on Endor! Just the ewoks evolved into humans and Our planet was destroyed leaving behind what became the moon…

  • Survivor Bay

    Our star is a binary system. big deal

  • Hands Olo

    so what, i can do the kessel run in under 12 parsecs

  • Kenneth Glenn Koons

    What happened to the discovery of the Earth-like planet that all were crowing about just a month ago?? There seems to be a lack of excitement now. I would expect that some would be finding a way to explore that even if it takes a hundred years. After all, perhaps this is the new heaven and new earth………….

  • Kenneth Glenn Koons

    Oh poor Ray S. It is possible that even an old man like me , yes, A Christian who is in love with sci-fi could actually be excited about that discovery. And I am. And your expertise is what exactly???? A frustrated Obama supporter? LOL

  • flashman1854

    I wonder if they have “climate change” or “global warming” on this planet?

  • Btruth

    Good to know I must be revealing to much truth, because I’m being censored.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Guide To The Holidays
Shine A Light On The Holiday Season With ‘Giving Tuesday’

Listen Live