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Apparently there are planets orbiting binary star systems.  In the past we’ve found single planets orbiting two stars, but it was thought that more than one planet would see the gravitational forces throwing them either into the stars, out of the system, or into each other.  Kepler-47, in the constellation of Cygnus, has two planets – and one of them is in the habitable zone, where liquid water can exist.

It’s probably a gas giant, but Prof William Welsh, from San Diego State University, said:

“Kepler-47c is not likely to harbour life, but if it had large moons, those would be very interesting worlds.”

Now I’m wondering what a day would be like on one of those moons.  Imagine, you are on a moon, orbiting a planet, orbiting two suns.  What would you see and experience as the day progressed?  Obviously you can’t answer that properly without knowing the lengths of the orbits involved.  My astrophysics is not good enough to figure it out even knowing the orbits.

On the other hand, is it important?  How many books have you read in which the protagonist noticed what phase the moon was in?  (Apart from books about werewolves, they don’t count!)  Unless the fact that there are two suns is central to the plot, why should it matter?  The occasional comment about the suns rising or the planet setting, and that should be enough.

A while back, I mentioned the make up of the solar system, specifically the outer planets. Now, I don’t want to confuse you, but it turns out I may have been wrong about Pluto.

The debate over what Pluto actually is has been re-ignited recently by the discovery of a fifth moon.  It has more moons than all of the inner planets combined.

Mind you, having a moon is not the definition of a planet, so all it’s done is make people start talking about it.  In case you were wondering, to be a planet an object needs to be spherical, orbit the sun, and have a gravity strong enough to clear its orbit of smaller objects.  It’s on that last point that Pluto fails.

Some people think that Pluto and its largest moon, Charon, should be classified as a binary planet system (the IAU doesn’t agree).  I wonder, what would it be like to live on a binary planet?  Would it even be possible or would there be gravitational problems and such like that prevented an atmosphere forming?

Is there anyone out there with a better grasp of astrophysics than I who could comment on the possibility?

And has this been done already?  I could definitely be interested in reading a novel featuring this idea.

The Author

Nicola Higgins is a 30-something martial artist who runs two Brownie packs and works full time. She somehow still finds time to write.

Her favourite genres are near-future and alternate world science fiction and fantasy.

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