Potentially habitable Tatooine spotted only 40 light years away

So much for a galaxy "far far away." Astronomers have made some detailed measurements of a planet in a binary star system some 40 light years from here, and it looks like it just might be habitable, with one red sun and one orange sun. Sounds familiar.

55 Cancri F has just been added to the (very, very short) list of potentially habitable planets orbiting other stars. In this case, it's orbiting a pair of stars in a binary system. The planet is about the size of Neptune, and spends 74% of its time in that sexy habitable zone where liquid water can exist, and scientists suggest that a modest greenhouse effect might allow for stable year-round oceans.

Being the size of Neptune would make for a rather unpleasant amount of gravity, but the type of sky you'd get to enjoy might just make up for it. For half the year, there would be two suns in the sky during the day. At night, you'd still be able to see the red dwarf for half the year, and the other half of the year, the stars would be out. Wild!

For the record, Tatooine itself orbits one G-type and one K-type star, while the 55 Cancri system consists of a G-type and an M-type. So it's close, and if you take into account that when we first see Tatooine it's also "a long time ago," I think it's safe to assume that if you take into account all those years and light years, we're still talking about more or less the same place, Jawas and all.

Via Tech Review

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