We've Discovered a Binary Star System Whose Planet Is in Stable OrbitGeorge Dvorsky7/03/14 3:00pmFiled to: spacescienceastronomyexoplanetsbinary starsbinary systemterrestrial planetsgravitational microlensing1412EditPromoteShare to KinjaToggle Conversation toolsGo to permalinkIt may not be anything like Tatooine of Star Wars, but this discovery is still incredible. We've found a frozen, rocky planet orbiting one of its two parent binary stars in a stable Earth-like orbit. This significantly expands our sense of where life can emerge in the galaxy.AdvertisementBinary star systems are quite common. So common, in fact, that they may account for as many as 50% of all stellar systems, though more conservative estimates place the figure at about a third. Regardless, the presence of so many binary stars likely imposes a profound constraint on galactic habitability; gravitational perturbations from a companion star can interfere in the formation and long-term stability of planets. Prior to this study, all the planets discovered thus far in binary systems have been gas giants, including a binary system with more than one planet. It's possible, of course, that the moons of these exoplanets are habitable, but astronomers have no idea if rocky Earth-like planets in stable Earth-like orbits can form in these systems — though models suggest it is possible. ShareTweet Kinja is in read-only mode. We are working to restore service.