May 19, 2013 | 07:44 AM (BD Time)
19 May, 2013 Sunday
Distant planet has double sunset
Space probe detects a planet with a double sunset. Real life takes a step closer to science fiction.
In a scene reminiscent of Luke Skywalker's home, when the day ends on planet Kepler-16b there is a double sunset. NASA's Kepler spacecraft detected the distant planet orbiting two waltzing stars. Binary stars, which are two suns turning around each other, have been seen before. But it was not known if planets existed around them. Kepler's observations have confirmed it.
This is an image taken by the Kepler spacecraft showing the planet in orbit near the two stars.
Kepler's mission is to scour the Milky Way galaxy for Earth-like planets in what is called the "habitable zone". That is, planets not too close and not too far away from the stars they orbit. Though this cool gas giant is not thought to harbour life.
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