It can’t be seen with your eyes, but it’s now the largest planet rotating around a two-sun solar system according to a Monday announcement from the American Astronomical Society.
Astronomers from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland and San Diego State University (SDSU) said the discovery of the planet, Kepler-1647b, took so long because its orbit takes more than 1,000 days. The planet is 3,700 light years away from Earth and is about 4.4 billion years old.
Laurance Doyle, who helped with this project, said she noticed a sign of the planet five years ago, but needed more information to confirm it.
SDSU Astronomer Jerome Orosz, who had also helped find the new planet, told NASA that it was odd that it took their team so long to discover a planet so big.
“It’s a bit curious that this biggest planet took so long to confirm since it is easier to find big planets than small ones,” Orosz said. “But it is because its orbital period is so long.”
NASA added that the planet is a gas giant, so it most likely won’t be able to sustain life. However, there are moons on the planet that could potentially be good for existence.
“Habitability aside, Kepler-1647b is important because it is the tip of the iceberg of a theoretically predicted population of large, long-period circumbinary planets,” SDSU Astronomer William Welsh told NASA.
NASA asks people who want to learn more about the new planet to visit http://www.nasa.gov/kepler