Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live on a planet that orbits two stars?It could have been our imagination to think, but until recently, it was thought to be something that only existed in the realm of science fiction. That is, until the discovery of Kepler-64b or PH1.
PH1 is the first reported case of a planet orbiting a double-star system, which is then orbited by a second pair of stars. This phenomenon is called a circumbinary planet in a four-star system. PH1 is a bit larger than Neptune and is thought to be a gas giant. It orbits its host stars every 137 days and is 900 times farther from its star than Earth is from our sun.
This planet’s discovery has been revolutionary for the astronomy community. The discovery of PH1 was made possible by volunteers from the Planet Hunters citizen science project. This project has allowed everyday citizens to contribute to cutting edge astronomical research and make amazing discoveries like PH1.
The planet’s discovery has also been exciting for those of us who have always been fascinated with science fiction and what life on an alien planet may look like. PH1 is not Earth-like in any way but it does have similarities to other planets that we have discovered, such as its size being similar to Neptune.
The concept of a circumbinary planet in a four-star system has long been theorized but never observed—until now. This makes PH1 an incredibly interesting object for astronomers and space enthusiasts alike to study and learn more about.
What’s even more remarkable about this discovery is that it was made possible by everyday people who took part in the Planet Hunters project. This groundbreaking discovery shows that citizen science and collaboration can lead to amazing breakthroughs in astronomy and science as a whole.