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Planets with Two Suns are Common

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An artist's impression of Kepler-34b orbiting a double-star system

Astronomers have discovered two new circumbinary planet systems showing that planets with two suns are common, with probably many millions existing in our Galaxy.

According to the article published in the journal Nature, the two new Saturn-sized planets, Kepler-34b and Kepler-35b, and their systems are located in the constellation Cygnus the Swan about 5,000 light-years away from Earth.

Astronomers of NASA’s Kepler mission say Kepler-34b orbits its two stars every 289 days, and the stars themselves orbit each other every 28 days.

Kepler-35b revolves around a pair of smaller stars every 131 days, and the stars orbit one another every 21 days.

Circumbinary planets have two suns and the amount of energy they receive varies which causes dramatically varying climates.

“It would be like cycling through all four seasons many times per year, with huge temperature changes,” said the lead author William Welsh of the San Diego State University.

“The effects of these climate swings on the atmospheric dynamics, and ultimately on the evolution of life on habitable circumbinary planets, is a fascinating topic that we are just beginning to explore.”

Astronomers of NASA’s Kepler mission are hopeful that the new discovery could open a door to studying an entirely new class of planets.


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