Planet Has Four Suns


Step aside Tatooine. A newfound planet known as PH1 has double the suns of Star Wars’ famous two-sun world, amateur astronomers have discovered.

Previously, six other planets had been found circling double stars, but “this is the first planet discovered in a four-star system,” Yale planetary astronomer Megan Schwamb said Monday at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society’s Division for Planetary Sciences in Reno, Nevada.

PH1, which is about 6.2 times Earth’s width, orbits two of the stars, which are themselves orbited by a second pair.

One of the primary stars is superbright and 1.7 times larger than our sun. The other is dimmer and is only 41 percent the width of our sun. PH1 circles these two at about two-thirds the distance of Earth from our sun.

The other stars are far, far away—approximately 30 times the distance between Neptune and our sun. From that range, the stars would simply appear as a pair of brilliant pinpoints.

But don’t expect that sunset scene in Star Wars: None of the four suns would be visible from the planet’s surface.

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