NASA Discovers “Tatooine-like” Planet with Three Stars. Though the planet KOI-5Ab has been on NASA‘s radar for some time after being discovered during NASA’s Kepler Mission in 2009. Now, after the completion of the Kepler Mission, NASA has returned focus on the planet after discovering the planet resides within a three star system.
Star Wars fans couldn’t help but compare the planet to Anakin and Luke Skywalker’s home planet of Tatooine which has binary suns as featured in the iconic backdrops of scenes throughout the Skywalker Saga. Scientists currently believe KOI-5Ab is a gas giant, similar to Jupiter and Saturn. Though it resides within orbit of three stars, the planet appears to only orbit two out of the three.
“We don’t know of many planets that exist in triple-star systems, and this one is extra special because its orbit is skewed,” shares Chief Scientist of NASA’s Exoplanet Science Institute David Ciardi. “We still have a lot of questions about how and when planets can form in multiple-star systems and how their properties compare to planets in single-star systems. By studying this system in greater detail, perhaps we can gain insight into how the universe makes planets.”
“This research emphasizes the importance of NASA’s full fleet of space telescopes and their synergy with ground-based systems,” project scientist for the Kepler space telescope at NASA’s Ames Research Center Jessie Dotson stated. “Discoveries like this one can be a long haul.”
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Featured Photo Credit: Lucasfilm