US space agency Nasa has found a world with a double sunset, conjuring up an image of Luke Skywalker's home 'Tatooine' in Star Wars.
The "circumbinary" planet found by the Nasa Kepler mission this week orbits two stars and is just 200 light years away from earth.
About the size of Saturn, the planet is cold and inhospitable, unlike its motion picture counterpart. William Borucki, the principal investigator, said:
"This discovery confirms a new class of planetary systems that could harbor life. Given that most stars in our galaxy are part of a binary system, this means the opportunities for life are much broader than if planets form only around single stars.”
‘Kepler 16b’, the name of the new planet, was discovered near the “habitable zone”, where liquid water can exist on the surface of the planet. But its ‘suns’ are too small for anything to be found on this planet, with one star about 69 per cent smaller than our sun and the other only 20 per cent of the size.
Visual effects supervisor John Knoll of Industrial Light & Magic, a division of Lucasfilm Ltd, which made the Star Wars film said:
"More often than not, scientific discoveries prove to be more spectacular than anything we dare imagine. There is no doubt these discoveries influence and inspire storytellers. Their very existence serves as cause to dream bigger and open our minds to new possibilities beyond what we think we 'know.'"
Take a look at the stunning video produced by Nasa:
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