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Luke Skywalker's Home Exists!


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[ATTACH=CONFIG]171[/ATTACH]Yes, you read the title right. On Friday, NASA announced that a planet had been found, 200 million light years from Earth, that orbits 2 suns, like Luke Skywalker's own Tatooine (the planet was aptly named Tatooine). However, the planet is too cold and can't sustain life (explain that one to me). But what got me thinking is how the planet can orbit two suns at once.

At some point in the orbit, both suns would be pulling on Tatooine with a force, whose magnitude can be found using Newton's equation:

png.latex?Force=\frac{Gm_{sun}m_{Tattooi

The direction of both forces is toward the sun that produces that force, so at some point, both forces would be competing against each other. If I had to take a guess, I would say that one of the suns is slightly larger and the planet comes closer to the smaller sun in its orbit, therefore the force is never quite equal. The distance must be pretty far, though, if Tatooine is "frigid" (NASA's words).

Well I gave my best guess, so if anyone else has a guess, I'd like to hear it so, leave it in the comments section. Hopefully NASA will discover more about this planet and maybe one day even be able to explain this strange, but cool, situation.

Random Sports Fact: Mariano Rivera became the all-time saves leader today, notching his 602nd save to pass the 601 saves of Trevor Hoffman

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Close, it was called Tatooine. :-) Trying to out-nerd a physics teacher... that's just silly.

Great post, and I like how you're thinking about the physics of how such a situation could exist. Do you think it would be difficult to model the gravitational field in space for two suns, if the gravitational field strength is a vector? This sounds like a great opportunity for us to try out our new simulation software, Interactive Physics!

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