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Scientists find huge planet orbiting 2 suns

By Associated Press In San Diego (China Daily) Updated: 2016-06-16 07:49

Astronomers say they have discovered the largest planet outside the solar system that orbits two suns.

The newfound world, about the size of Jupiter, is 3,700 light-years from Earth. A light-year is about 9.6 trillion kilometers.

It was detected by a team led by NASA and San Diego State University using the planet-hunting Kepler telescope. The discovery was announced on Monday during a meeting of the American Astronomical Society in San Diego.

Although the planet is in the habitable zone - where water that is crucial to life can be liquid - it is not a good candidate to support life because it is so large, scientists said.

"It's a bit curious that this biggest planet took so long to confirm, as it is easier to find big planets than small ones," San Diego State astronomer Jerome Orosz said.

Planets that circle two suns are nicknamed Tatooine after the fictional body in the Star Wars films that boasts a double sunset.

In 2011, scientists found the first Tatooine planet - a world about the size of Saturn 200 light-years from Earth.

NASA launched Kepler in 2009 to search for planets - mainly Earthlike ones - outside the solar system.

 

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