This is the second discovery of a multi-planetary circumbinary system. It is the Tattoine-like solar system from ‘Star Wars’. They orbit around two stars in the center, instead of a single one, as in our Solar System.
The newly discovered planet is named BEBOP-1c. In 2020, a circumbinary planet, named TOI-1338b, was discovered. The same system was used using data from NASA’s TESS space telescope. It attracted attention because it passed in front of the brighter of the two stars on several occasions.
“The method allowed us to measure the size of that planet. But not its mass, which is the most important parameter,” explains Dr. Matthew Standing in a statement. He works at the University of Birmingham.
They used state-of-the-art instruments installed on two telescopes located in the Atacama Desert. They were trying to measure the mass of the planet observed by TESS. Despite their efforts and years of work, the team could not succeed. But instead they discovered a second planet, BEBOP-1c, and measured its mass.
“So far only 12 circumbinary systems are known. This is only the second to host more than one planet,” notes David Martin, an astronomer at Ohio State University.
“It has an orbital period of 215 days. And 65 times the mass of Earth,” he notes. At the moment only two planets are known in the system. Although rare, circumbinary planets are important for understanding what happens when a planet is created. “Planets are born in a disk of matter surrounding a young star. There, mass accumulates progressively until planets form.”
The planet is now known to have a density less than that of a fluffy sponge cake. It’s a rarity that makes this planet optimal for new studies with the James Webb Space Telescope. What might these observations show? The chemical environment in which this rare planet formed in the Tattoine-like solar system.