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'Tatooine' Solar System: 2 Alien Planets with Twin Suns Found (Gallery)

Solar System Kepler-47

NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle

An artist's illustration of the alien solar system Kepler-47, a twin star system that is home to two planets. The planets have two suns like the fictional planet Tatooine in the "Star Wars" universe.

Kepler-47: Twin Suns for Planets Like Tatooine

Karl Tate, SPACE.com contributor

Scientists using NASA's Kepler Space Telescope data have found two planets orbiting a binary star, like Tatooine from Star Wars. Here's how the Kepler-47 star system works.

Kepler-47 Tatooine-Like Planets: Orbit Diagram

NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle

This illustration shows the orbits of the two alien planets circling two stars of Kepler-47, and the orbits of our own solar system planets for comparison.

Alien Planets with 2 Suns in Kepler-47

NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle

This artist's illustration shows a comparison of the two alien planets discovered to orbit twin stars in the Kepler-47 system. The smaller planet is up to 4.6 times the Earth's diameter. The larger world is likely slightly larger than Uranus.

Kepler-47: Two Planets Circling Two Stars

NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle

This screenshot from a NASA animation depicts the two known planets in the Kepler-47 system, as well as their double parent stars.

Orbital Paths of Kepler-47 Planets

NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle

This screenshot from a NASA animation shows the orbital paths taken by the two known planets in the Kepler-47 system, which both orbit the same two stars.

Kepler Space Observatory

NASA.

An artist's interpretation of the Kepler observatory in space.

Hobby-Eberly Telescope

Marty Harris/McDonald Observatory/UT-Austin

The Hobby-Eberly Telescope in West Texas. The telescope is one of two McDonald Observatory instruments used to perform follow-up observations on the Kepler-47 star system, which is home to two alien planets that orbit twin stars.

Harlan J. Smith Telescope at McDonald Observatory

Marty Harris/McDonald Observatory/UT-Austin

The 2.7-meter (107-inch) Harlan J. Smith Telescope at The University of Texas at Austin's McDonald Observatory in West Texas. The telescope is one of two McDonald Observatory instruments used to perform follow-up observations on the Kepler-47 star system, which is home to two alien planets that orbit twin stars.

Kepler Field of View Star Chart

Software Bisque

This star chart illustrates the large patch of sky that NASA's Kepler mission will stare at for the duration of its three-and-a-half-year lifetime. The planet hunter's full field of view occupies 100 square degrees of our Milky Way galaxy, in the constellations Cygnus and Lyra.

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