As the search for other worlds within our galaxy, within this universe continues, astronomers are continuing to make amazing discoveries! This one likely happened between a mixture of outer space enthusiasts and science fiction fanatics. Yet, whatever the reason, it always is exciting to realize that so much is going on beyond what it is that we think we know!
It was earlier this month when astronomers whom were eying the depths of the known universe caught the sight of a distant world. Locating exoplanets seems to be so commonplace nowadays, yet it always is an interesting thing when another one is spotted. A new world that has been labeled as Kepler 16b was viewed, recently. It was identified by The Kepler Space Observatory, and the studies of it are revealing spectacular details!
Located roughly 200 light years away from us, Kepler 16b has been found to be a gas giant. This is a world similar to Jupiter, or to Saturn. Kepler 16b has been found to be roughly the size of Saturn, said to be a world that is a mixture of gas and rock. It is in orbit of it’s host stars, Kepler 16, in a 229 day-length period.
Kepler 16b is in orbit of the binary star system at a period of 229 days. It’s distance from the stars equals to what the distance of Venus is from The Sun. Scientists have figured Kepler 16b’s location to be sixty-five million miles out from it’s host binary stars. This is within what is being recognized as the habitable zone.
This world is the first world that astronomers have validated as a planet in orbit of two stars. Other worlds in this situation are believed to exist, yet Kepler 16b has been the only verifiable example, thus far. Both of the stars are smaller than The Sun. Such a world would have two sunrises, and two sunsets, similar to what the young Luke Skywalker witnessed when he was a boy on Tatooine!
Unlike the imaginary Tatooine, Kepler 16b has been identified as mainly a gas world. Having no truly solid surface, it would not have any life, as we allege to understand it. Yet, the verification of this planet’s existence teases with studying scientists at the idea of a world in a binary star system being capable of supporting life. It does exist within it’s solar system’s habitable zone, which does suggest that similar worlds with temperatures at the right settings for liquid water to be present could exist within similar orbital patterns. Where there is water, there is life…..
Unfortunately, further studies proceeded to reveal that Kepler 16b is not capable of supporting life. Studies show that the planet likely is composed of a half-solid, and a half-fluid mixture. The binary stars likely do not emit enough heat to support our comprehensions of life, although a combination of the heat emitted from both of them does equal to roughly ninety percent of the heat coming from The Sun to Earth.
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