October 23, 2021

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How do ‘Tatooine’ planets survive with 2 suns?

3 min read

It’s hard for an exoplanet to establish itself in a neighborhood built around not one but two stars. But astronomers have spotted plenty of such alien worlds, sometimes nicknamed “Tatooines” after the “Star Wars” planet where Luke Skywalker watches a double sunset.

In new research, scientists tackle how a planet might survive orbiting one star in a pair with a companion star located about as far away as Uranus is from the sun. That combination forms a particularly chaotic environment, one in which it’s difficult for globs of material to stick together well enough to build up planets, as astronomers’ primary idea of planet formation goes.

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