Two Suns

Midnight Sun 3 - Twin sunsNot much on-line time today, so I will keep it short. Today’s BBC website has an entertaining little article about how “many planets have two suns.”

Star Wars got it right!

The BBC opens with:

The dual suns that rise and set over Luke Skywalker’s homeworld in the film Star Wars may be more than just fantasy, according to data from Nasa.

In a classic scene from the 1977 movie, the hero gazes into the distance as two yellow suns set on the horizon.

Nasa’s Spitzer Space Telescope has found planetary systems are at least as abundant around dual stars as they are around single stars, like our own Sun. (Read Original)

Brilliant. Who would have thought George Lucas would have been so prescient…. Although the BBC (and I presume the article in the Astrophysical Journal) did go on to qualify this: (emphasis mine)

Dr Trilling said that if planets did exist in dusty discs around these binaries, they might be at distances where the conditions could be hospitable for life.

The Luke Skywalker picture is science fiction. But I don’t see anything that’s astronomically incorrect about it,” said the University of Arizona researcher.

“With some of our systems, you could play with the geometry, put a planet there, get the temperatures right and make it look just like [Tatooine].”

Still, I am sure everyone who watched Star Wars (the proper one, not the rubbish new ones) as a child can still hope that one day…

[tags]Science, Astrophysics, Cosmology, Star Wars, Planets, Spitzer, Space, Telescope, NASA, BBC, George Lucas[/tags]