Twin stars host multiple planets

2012-08-29 08:29
Scientists have announced the first proof twin stars can host multiple planets. (Davide De Martin, ESO, AP)

Scientists have announced the first proof twin stars can host multiple planets. (Davide De Martin, ESO, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

  • Astronomy
    Learn about famous astronomers, the solar system, stars, and other aspects of astronomy Was R174.95 Now R148.71
    buy now
Washington - The universe is looking increasingly crowded as scientists announced the first proof twin stars can host multiple planets - boosting their search for a planet that could support life.

"We're seeing more and more planets in more and more situations," said Jerome Orosz, an astronomer at San Diego State University.

"We're almost to the point where you look at a star and say why doesn't this have a planet?" he added.

Orosz is part of a team that has observed at least two planets orbiting around a pair of stars that are also orbiting each other.

It's a potentially chaotic arrangement - with shifting gravity depending on where the stars are - that scientists weren't sure was possible.

Proof

"After a star forms, it's got a little bit of leftover material which eventually forms the Earth and the planets," said Orosz.

"The question was: 'If you put the disk and debris around a binary [star], would it survive long enough to form planets?' And the answer is 'Yes'."

The newly discovered planets were found around Kepler-47, a Sun-sized orb paired with another about a third as big.

Nasa's Kepler telescope - searching through the universe for as many worlds as it can find - has already found bodies at four other twin stars.

But this is the first time astronomers have proof of more than one planet at a time.

And just maybe there's a third planet in there as well, Orosz said, though they still need more data.

The planets are gas giants, around the size of Neptune. But these two are orbiting very close to their suns.

In fact, the outer planet is hanging out within that sweet spot scientists call the "Goldilocks zone" - not too close and hot, not too far and cold.

That's a first, too, and an exciting one, because it's another step towards finding an Earth-size planet within that zone, somewhere out there.

"Now we can find planets in these sorts of orbits. So the next step is to look for smaller and smaller bodies," said Orosz, something that becomes easier as more data accumulates.

"If you go out at night and look at the sky, roughly half the stars you see are binary stars," Orosz said.

"So the fact that you can find planets in the habitable zone of binary stars means you have lot more real estate" for potential life.

With Orosz as lead author, the team presented its findings in the journal Science.
Read more on:    astronomy
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
9 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic & Train Alerts
Traffic
Stikland 12:25 PM
Road name: Strand Road Eastbound

TRUCK CRASH between La Belle Road and the R300 Highway

Cape Town 12:12 PM
Road name: N1 Inbound

ACCIDENT near the N7 Highway bridge

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Up to 60% off - clearance sale!

Save up to 60% on appliances, books, electronics, toys, movies and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Deal of the Week!

Get bestselling John Green novels now just R99 each! Hurry and get yours while stocks last. Shop here.

Mind blowing deals on beauty & fragrances

Save up to 30% off beauty and fragrances. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 50% off hair care products!

Save up to 50% on professional hair care products at kalahari.com. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off academic books

Score a mind blowing 30% off academic books! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Social media is pulling you in and you have the desire to find out everything you know about your friends and you have the urge to...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.