Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large

Star Wars rising

Life imitates art as Nasa scientists name a planet which orbits two suns after Luke Skywalker's home. This is, of course, in a galaxy far, far away.

Galaxy hopping through hyperspace in a Millennium Falcon-type spaceship remains a distant dream (we think). Should the dream be realised, it's still unlikely we'll ever discover a cuddly, teddy-bear-resembling alien race like the Ewoks. And the odds against encountering a creature as annoying as Jar Jar Binks in our future interstellar travels are astronomical.

But don't count Star Wars out just yet. As scary as it may seem, life appears to be imitating art in the famous space saga's depiction almost 35 years ago of a planet with two suns.

A new planet orbiting two stars, similar to the one imagined by George Lucas all those years ago, was discovered last week by Nasa scientists. And just like Tatooine, home to the film series' hero Luke Skywalker, the newly-named Kepler-16b also experiences two sunsets.

Unlike the desert terrain stalked by Jawas, however, Kepler-16b, which lies 200 light years from earth, is cold, gaseous and, like the rest of the known universe, does not support life in any form.

Nasa's $600 million Kepler space telescope continues to look out into the night skies. Scientists are betting on finding more planets in two orbits and don't bet against other phenomena, formerly the province of fiction, in the outer corners of the universe. In galaxies far, far away.

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 Rolling out the structure for the set. Mona Al Marzooqi / The National

Star Wars: Episode VII evidence in Abu Dhabi desert

After more than a week of speculation, The National has what are believed to be the first photos of a Star Wars shoot in the Abu Dhabi desert.

No words can describe this April 17, your captions will

Have a catchy caption for this picture. Share it with us and we might publish it and reward you.

 The year-long project aims to create a form of social autobiography — the story of Dubai documented by those who know it best, the people who live there.

Zoom in! This is your Dubai in a single image

On our sixth birthday, we are all about pictures. So here is our #mydubai offering. Using zoom.it, explore the city.

 Amir Khan, during a workout at the Gloves Community Centre on March 24, 2014 in Bolton, England, says his fight will be the real main event in Las Vegas on May 3. Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Amir Khan says bout with Luis Collazo ‘will steal the show’ in Las Vegas on May 3

British-Pakistani boxer Amir Khan says his fight with Luis Collazo will be the main attraction on same fight card led by Floyd Mayweather Jr and Marcos Maidana, writes Omar Al Raisi.

 This Dh17,000 Miele system can prepare your choice of coffee - from capuccino to espresso - at a touch of a button. Pawan Singh / The National

In pictures: Miele puts art in coffee making

Miele has devoted itself to the art of preparing the black liquid with its beautifully designed coffee machines, living up to its mantra of turning kitchens into cafés.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National