April 22, 2024

Planets with Double Stars: It seems that Tatooine, home of Luke Skywalker, is not unique

Hhe Scene, which will make old-school Star Wars fans' hearts soar: Young Skywalker – who has no idea that he will become a Jedi or that this is his last night in the house – lets his hair blow in the wind as he sets on the red sky before him. Yes sun! There are two of them on Luke's home planet of Tatooine. Double sun.

What movie fans never tire of telling each other has since fascinated astronomers as well. But they don't say double sun, they call it double star. Now researchers at Yale University hypothesize that there are many planets in the vastness of space very similar to Luke Skywalker's homeland.

They all belong to binary star systems and have conditions that make them habitable. The fact that there are two celestial bodies is not unusual in space; for example Kepler-16b, A gas giant that was discovered in 2011. The fact that planets are not too hot, too cold, or too gassy to theoretically be colonized by carbon-based life is a new fact.

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3D view of the Earth from space

However, it has not yet been found; Researchers led by Malena Rice from Yale University in Connecticut, USA, calculated that it must exist. Ha Stady Published in the “Astronomical Journal”. The team explains that in binary star systems there should be about a dozen planets that are relatively human-friendly.

Rice and her colleagues used a variety of sources, including: Gaia DR3 Catalog ESA, that NASA Exoplanet Archive And the TEPCat Catalog from Keele University in the United Kingdom to create 3D geometries of planets in binary star systems. The researchers found that nine of the 40 systems examined had a “perfect” alignment of the planets allowed.

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“This may be an indication that planetary systems want to work toward an orderly formation,” Rice said. “This is also good news for the emergence of life in these systems.” In binary star systems, individual planets orbit the parent star. The second star is not next to this “sun”. It orbits the entire system, the central planets and stars, in outer orbit.

The “power” is with the double suns

The previous teaching was that star companions generally line up differently. “Then they can wreak havoc on planetary systems, flipping them over or heating up the planets over time.” Rice found that the previous theory was wrong, at least for a large proportion of systems.

“We have shown for the first time that there is an unexpected accumulation of systems where everything is consistent,” she explains. “The planets there are orbiting in exactly the same direction as the first star, and the second star is orbiting this system on the same plane as the planets.”

Apparently she's also a Star Wars fan, the press release for her work is titled Luke in the Afterglow, and it's called “A New Hope.” The astronomer sees her findings as a sign that “the universe, at least in some respects, is tending toward orderly alignment rather than chaotic disarray.” I think this means: The energy field that permeates everything, the “Force” of the Jedi Knights, is life's friend.

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This image released by NASA on Tuesday, July 12, 2022, shows the edge of a nearby, young star-forming region, NGC 3324, in the Carina Nebula.  Taken by the Near Infrared Camera (NIRCam) on the James Webb Space Telescope, this infrared image reveals star birth regions that were previously obscured, according to NASA.  (NASA, ESA, CSA, and STScI via AP)

The fictional desert planet Tatooine from the movie Star Wars was designed with dual solar systems in mind. Using the new data, you can now accurately guess what kind of life young Luke lived. At some times of the year, daylight was continuous, with both stars exactly opposite each other. One illuminated one side of the planet and the other the other.

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That's why the hardworking Skywalker boy didn't have to sweat all the time while working in the fields. Because one of the stars is much farther away, the scorching heat will be limited to half the day.

At other times of the year, both suns shine on the same side of the planet, with one sun appearing much larger than the other. We've known that for a long time. It's the same with the iconic scene.

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