Astronomers just (kinda) found Star Wars' Tatooine

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Dec 17, 2012

Astronomy experts may need to call in George Lucas for some consulting work soon, because the Star Wars creator predicted an astronomical find decades before it was actually spotted in the recesses of space. We'd better learn how to build sand huts, because we've just found Tatooine.

By analyzing data from NASA's Kepler space telescope, researchers have found the first-ever group of two alien planets orbiting a pair of stars—meaning they have two suns, just like the solar system around Luke Skywalker's beloved home planet.

Dubbed Kepler-47, the newly discovered system is 5,000 light-years away, in the Swan constellation. The discovery was made by detecting the slight change in brightness caused when the stars cross one another.

One of the distant stars is pretty comparable to our sun, while the other is about one-third its size. The orbits are pretty drastically different for the two planets, with the inner body making a full loop every 49.5 days, while the outer planet takes 303.2 days to complete a full rotation.

In a statement to Space.com, the study's lead author Jerome Orosz at San Diego State University said the find is a very unique one:

"Kepler-47 shows us that binary stars can have close-in planetary systems, just like the ones we see in single stars. Most of the stars in the galaxy are in binary or higher-order multiple systems, so the fact that planetary systems can exist in these types of systems is important. If we were restricted to looking for planets around single stars, we would be missing most of the stars in the galaxy."
What do you think about the find? Is the next big announcement going to be the Death Star?

(Via HuffPost)