If you’re a fan of Star Wars, surely you’ve heard about the Tatooine planet. It refers to a peculiar planet orbiting two stars at once. It’s also a lawless place ruled by Hutt gangsters. Perhaps the image of Luke Skywalker, the young Jedi, sitting on the planet’s surface and observing the two stars will remain in the hearts of Star Wars fans forever.
But enough with the science-fiction phenomenon, regardless of how amazing it might be. Let’s come back to the real world! The amazing thing is that even in the real world, the situation often goes through twists and turns that make us wonder if George Lucas might have predicted the future through his legendary Star Wars movies. That’s right; astronomers discovered a planet that revolves around two stars at the same time, similar to Tatooine from Star Wars.
BEBOP-1c enters the cosmic scene
In a significant astronomical breakthrough, astronomers have identified a rare multi-planetary circumbinary system called BEBOP-1 or TOI-1338, and within it, they have located a second planet named BEBOP-1c, as SciTechDaily reveals. Using the Doppler method, scientists were able to measure the mass of the planet by analyzing the velocity of stars. BEBOP-1c is 65 times more massive than Earth and completes an orbit around its binary star system every 215 days. In other words, you would have to wait much less on the Tattoine-like planet to celebrate your birthday compared to how much it takes on Earth.
Dr. Matthew Standing, the lead author of the new study, explained, as SciTechDaily quotes:
BEBOP-1c has an orbital period of 215 days, and a mass 65 times larger than Earth, which is about five times less than Jupiter’s mass,
This was a difficult system to confirm, and our observations were interrupted by the COVID pandemic when telescopes in Chile closed for six months during a critical part of the planet’s orbit. This part of the orbit only became observable again last year, when we finalized the detection.
The new discovery expands astronomers’ understanding of planetary formation in the intriguing context of binary star systems.
Next time you are tempted to believe that you’ve seen it all when it comes to astronomy, well, think again!
The new study was published in Nature Astronomy.
Tommy’s hobby has always been playing video games. He enjoys competing in video games tournaments and writing about his experience. It’s not a big surprise that he mostly covers the latest trends from the gaming industry.