Kepler 16b is the first planet known to orbit around two stars.
- Kepler 16b is 200 light years from Earth.
- Kepler 16 is a binary star system comprising of Kepler 16A and Kepler 16B, note that Kepler 16B is the star and Kepler 16b is the planet.
- Kepler 16A is an orange dwarf with 69% the mass of the sun, while Kepler 16B is a red dwarf with 20% the mass of the sun.
- The two stars are separated by a distance of 20.5 million miles (33 million km) .
- The combined energy produced by the two stars is much less than that produced by our own sun.
- Planets that orbit two stars are called circumbinary planets.
- Kepler 16b is so far the first and only example of a confirmed circumbinary planet.
- Kepler 16b is a gas giant very similar in mass and radius to the planet Saturn.
- Kepler 16b lies just outside the habitable zone with estimated surface temperatures as low as -100C (-150F).
Kepler 16b has been dubbed Tatooine, due to the double sunset on the Star Wars planet.
Kepler 16b OrbitThe planet's orbit is very similar to that of the planet Venus in our own solar system. Kepler 16b orbits its host stars at a distance of around 65 million miles (104 million km) and takes 229 days to make one complete orbit.
Kepler 16b AtmosphereKepler 16b is a gas giant similar to Saturn in our own solar system, as a result its atmosphere is probably very similar, being mostly composed of hydrogen with lesser amounts of helium and possibly methane.
Kepler 16b Mass and RadiusKepler 16b is estimated to have a mass of around 105 times that of Earth, with a radius of around 8.5 times that of Earth, both the mass and radius are similar to the gas giant Saturn.
Kepler 16b StatisticsHost Stars: Kepler 16A and Kepler 16B
Host Star Type: Kepler 16A Orange Dwarf - K Class
Host Star Type: Kepler 16B Red Dwarf - M Class
Host Star Mass: Kepler 16A 69% of Sun
Host Star Mass: Kepler 16B 20% of Sun
Distance from Earth: 200 light years
Planets Detected in System: 1
Discovery Date: 15th September 2011
Detection Method: Transit Method
Exoplanet Type: Gas Giant
Mass: 105 x Earth
Diameter: 8.5 x Earth
Distance from host stars: 65 million miles (104 million km)
Orbital Period: 229 days
Atmosphere: Similar to the gas giants of our solar system, primarily composed of hydrogen.
Temperature: Surface temperatures of around -100C (-150F)
Gravity: 1.5 x Earth
Possibility of Life: Just as unlikely as the presence of life on the gas giants of our own solar system, although if Kepler 16b has orbiting moons they may well provide habitable conditions.