Exoplanet orbits two stars

A newly-discovered exoplanet, BEBOP-1c, orbits twin suns–another example of a phenomenon once considered impossible. Binary stars are common, but "Tatooine" worlds, named for the well-sunned homeworld of Luke Skywalker in Star Wars, were only recently discovered.

"Circumbinary planets were originally thought not to exist, since the binary stars stir up the planet-forming disks, creating a harsh environment for planets to form," study lead author Matthew Standing, an astrophysicist at the Open University in England, told Space.com. "This all changed with the discovery of Kepler-16b in 2011 by the Kepler space telescope. This discovery showed that it must be possible for these planets to form."

The first twin system discovered, TOI-1338, is 1320 light years from Earth and the double was discovered while attempting to pin down the mass of an observed exoplanet there. BEBOP-1c is a gas giant about 65 times the mass of Earth but smaller than Jupiter, and orbits its stars at about 79% of the distance between the Sun and Earth.