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

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An illustration of the planet called Kepler-16b (foreground) which orbits two stars.  (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

An illustration of the planet called Kepler-16b (foreground) which orbits two stars. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

MattBigler20100909_KCBS_0384r Matt Bigler
KCBS's Matt Bigler started as a reporter/anchor in 2004, and is now...
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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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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