Tatooine found on Hoth

[update] Hier ein NASA-Video inklusive Luke:

(Youtube Direkttatooine, danke Marco!)

Astronomen haben einen Exoplaneten gefunden, der in der Goldilocks Zone um ein Doppelgestirn kreist. Sie nennen ihn inoffiziell tatsächlich Tatooine. I kid you not.

It is the first planet, astronomers say, that has been definitely shown to be orbiting two stars at once, circling at a distance of some 65 million miles a pair of stars that are themselves circling each other much more closely. A team of astronomers using NASA’s Kepler planet-hunting spacecraft announced the discovery on Thursday in a paper published online in the journal Science and in a talk at a conference in Jackson Hole, Wyo.

The official name of the new planet is Kepler 16b, but astronomers are already referring to it informally as Tatooine, after the home planet of Luke and Anakin Skywalker in the George Lucas “Star Wars” movies, which also had two suns. Indeed, a representative from Mr. Lucas’s production company, Lucasfilm, expected to participate in a news conference at NASA’s Ames Research Laboratory in California, Kepler’s home office.

“Reality has finally caught up with science fiction,” said Alan P. Boss of the Carnegie Institution, a member of the research team.

NASA Detects Planet Dancing With a Pair of Stars (via MeFi)

Und vom Discover Magazine: Astronomers discover a wretched hive of scum and villainy

Kepler-16b is cold: the temperature at its cloud tops (assuming it’s a gas giant like Saturn) would be at best -70°C (-100°F).

So any visions you have of Luke Skywalker standing in the desert with his leg resting on a rock while he wistfully watches the two suns set in the west may have to wait. Even if the planet has a big moon (which these observations cannot yet detect) conditions there would be a bit chillier than on Tatooine. More like Hoth.