Double sun 311.
(photo credit: San Diego University/TAU)
An American team that includes a Tel Aviv University astrophysicist has
discovered two distant planets, each of which revolves around a double
RELATED:Planets that survived their star’s expansion found
The report of the new finding was published in the prestigious
journal Nature on Wednesday night. The article was titled: “The Transiting
Circumbinary Planets Kepler- 34 and Kepler-35.”
Prof. Tsevi Mazeh was
among the scientists who based their findings on exact measurements carried out
by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Kepler spacecraft, which
was sent to discover new Earthlike planets in distant solar systems.
new planets are located 5,000 light years from Earth in the constellation Cygnus
(swan). Kepler-34 revolves around its double sun once every 289 days, while Kepler- 35 does so every 131 days.
discovered the planets by examining the measured light emitted by the double
suns. Their examination showed that the power of the light declines cyclically,
testifying to the existence of planets revolving around them.
explained that together with a planet called Kepler-16, which was discovered a
few months ago and also travels around a double sun, there are three known
systems like this.
“We can estimate that the systems of the two suns and
a planet revolving around them are common phenomena in the galaxy,” he
“The importance of the discovery is that most of the suns in the
universe exist as pairs, like people. It is as if the stars say: It is not good
for a star to be alone. I will create a help-meet for it.”
Life on such a
planet can be very interesting, he continued.
“For some of the ‘sunsets,’
one sun will descend first and then a twilight period can occur. Only after that
does the sun set, followed by night,” Mazeh said.
“Every sun revolves
against its mate in a regular cyclical pattern. Thus, it changes its distance
from the planet [and] the temperature on the face of the planet in the double
sun system changes much more rapidly than on our Earth.”
discovered planet is a new world that appears behind the horizon and has a piece
of information in solving the creation and development of planets, he
Although new discoveries are exciting, this one is especially
so because the planets are so different from what we are accustomed to on
“Many have tried to find planets revolving around other suns, but
only now – with the dispatch of Kepler and the accurate data it supplies – have
the new discoveries been made possible.”