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Alien Planet Revolves Around Two Suns Instead Of One

Alien Planet Revolves Around Two Suns Instead Of One

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First Posted: Sep 23, 2016 05:38 AM EDT
Two Suns
Scientists recently found a planet with 2 suns. (Image used for representation only.) European Southern Observatory CC BY 2.0

In some science fiction or fantasy books, there characters that live in planets with more than one sun or a moon. However, while several moons can revolve around a planet, there has been no actual proof of a planet revolving around more than one sun - until now.

Space.com noted that scientists have known that some planets revolve around two or more stars, but this is the first time that they ever confirmed such discovery of a "circumbinary planet," thanks to a natural phenomenon called gravitational microlensing, or the bonding of light which was caused by strong gravity around objects that are in space. In these kinds of systems, two stars orbit a common center of mass, and when one star passes in front of the other, gravity from the closer star bends and magnifies its light, from our perspective here on Earth. Astronomers who studied this distorted light were able to find clues about stars in the foreground and potential planets orbiting the star system.

The exoplanet was named OGL-2007-BLG-349 and is located 8,000 light years from Earth, near the center of the Milky Way. First spotted in 2007, astronomers initially identified the system as a planet orbiting only one star, although data did suggest that there was another object in the background.

They were not able to examine closely at the time, but to get a better view, the team decided to use the Hubble Space Telescope to examine deep space, which then revealed the other star. Hubble's High-Resolution images revealed the system that has the brightness that scientists expected of two closely-orbiting red dwarf stars.

According to the study, a two-planet model with the main sun would be too bright to match the data, the whole two-planet system orbiting a white star would be too faint. This means the model with two stars and one planet is the only one that makes sense. With this latest revelation, it seems that the Hubble telescope will be even more useful in the search for exoplanets in the future.

 

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