Life on a moon near twin stars?
Postmedia Network and The Washington Post
First posted: Tuesday, June 14, 2016 01:19 AM EDT | Updated: Tuesday, June 14, 2016 01:29 AM EDT
Is there a moon around this supersized planet, orbiting a double sun, that could hold life?
That's what some scientists are wondering after they discovered the largest planet ever found orbiting two stars.
The planet is about the size of Jupiter and in what scientists call the "habitable zone" -- the magic sweet spot that experiences the right amount of sunlight and heat to allow liquid water to form.
The gas giant is massive enough to lasso in many rocky moons, and that's why scientists say it could be an interesting place to go looking for signs of alien life.
But since it takes 1,107 days for the planet -- called Kepler-1647 b -- to complete an orbit, it's taking some time for scientists to study it closely.
"The first transit was detected way back in 2011, but with one transit it's hard or impossible to tell what's going on," Veselin Kostov, a NASA Goddard postdoctoral fellow and lead author of a soon-to-be-published study on the planet, wrote in an email. "So we had to wait for three years for the planet to transit again, during which time we kept a close eye in the system, analyzing the available data and gathering new observations."
This undated artist rendering provided by San Diego State University shows a planet, dubbed Kepler 1647 b, right, and other planets that orbit two suns, designated Kepler-1647 A and Kepler 1647 B, outside our solar system. A team led by astronomers from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and San Diego State University reported Monday, June 13, 2016 the discovery of the largest planet to date that circles two suns. Kepler-1647 b is about the size of Jupiter in our solar system, is 3,700 light-years away and about 4.4 billion years old, according to scientists. (Lynette Cook/San Diego State University via AP)

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