Planets like Tatooine from ‘Star Wars' may exist

Desert planets with twin sunsets akin to Tatooine – the fictional Earthlike home of Luke Skywalker in "Star Wars: Episode IV"– may exist, according to new research.

Previously, it was believed that rocky planets could not orbit binary stars, and that only gas giant planets similar to Neptune or Jupiter did. However, astrophysicists Ben Bromley of the University of Utah and Scott Kenyon of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory claim that rocky planets orbiting binary stars may very well exist, and there are probably a lot of them.

Stars are formed as clouds of gas collapse from their own gravity. However, the difference in the formation of single stars and binary stars lies in where the gas collapses. Whereas gas collapses first in one region in single-star formation, it collapses in two regions that are in orbit around each other to form twin stars.

"This process is pretty common; a good fraction of stars in the night sky are actually binaries," Bromley told "Not all of them are so close together as in the ‘Star Wars' movie, but they – and their ‘Tatooines'– may be quite common!"

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