Two planets barely a million miles apart

Newly-discovered worlds, 1200 ly from Earth, have the closest orbits between two planets ever confirmed—on closest approach, only five times the distance between the Earth and its moon. [JPL. Artist impression: Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics]


  1. Well then, by the current definition, obviously neither of them is a planet, since neither has cleared its immediate orbital neighborhood of other significant objects.

    1. Given both have distinct orbital paths I think this qualifies as clearing ‘debris’.

    2. According to wikipedia, the only reason the Earth and the Moon aren’t considered a dual-planet system is because  while they technically orbit one another, the orbital axis is (barely) beneath the surface of Earth. Another 50 miles in one direction and the Moon would technically be another planet.

  2. The planetary odd couple orbits a star slightly hotter, and a couple of billion years older, than our sun.

    So….. they orbit Joan Collins?

  3. I wonder if the small Earth-sized rocky one is an escaped moon of the big Jupiter-like gas giant. Then it would be consistent with “clearing the neighborhood”

    1. Technically, that’s absolutely right, Earth and Moon orbit each other, even though the barycenter is within Earth’s radius.

  4.  Another consideration it the Moon is more attracted to the Sun than the Earth, unlike all other satellites in the solar system.

  5. Hey, just like the double planet system of Delta Vega and Vulcan… uh, never mind.

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