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Astronomers Discover The Largest Known Planet That Orbits Two Suns

Astronomers Discover The Largest Known Planet That Orbits Two Suns

In June 2016, astronomers announced the largest ever circumbinary planet -- that is, a planet that orbits not one, but two, stars. Though other two-sun worlds have been discovered in the past, this one is substantially larger, roughly matching the size and composition of Jupiter. Kepler-1647b, as it's named, has other similarities to our solar system as well. Its 4.4-billion-year age is about the same as Earth's, and each of its stars are around the same size as the Sun. Whereas a Jupiter-sized planet would ordinarily be pretty easy to spot with an advanced telescope, confirmation of Kepler-1647b took an unusually long time. Astronomers identify exoplanets by watching them pass in front of their home stars, and this planet's two-star system and its lengthy three-year orbital period made that particularly tricky. We've collected some awesome videos on this topic. Watch them now to learn more.

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Key Facts In This Video

  1. Astronomers recently discovered the largest planet known to date to orbit two stars. 00:09

  2. It's located 3,700 light years away and is roughly the same age as Earth. 00:20

  3. It's located within the habitable range, but because it's a gas giant, life is unlikely to be present. 00:31

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