Giant nightmare planet could be host to equally giant nightmare life

This image was removed due to legal reasons.

That's one way to interpret the latest findings of the Astrophysical Journal which breezily reports of the new discovery of the innocuously named gas giant planet, Kepler-1647 b. It's the same size and mass as Jupiter but orbits two stars instead of one, for some reason we don't know about. The planet's orbit around its dual sun system takes 1,107 of our puny Earth days, which is more than enough time to run away forever. Something we might need to think about because it could also be home to life, maybe.

The record-breaking planet, the largest yet seen greedily orbiting two stars, was spied by the Kepler Space Telescope. You might enjoy this dramatic recreation video from to get a sense of its size:

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Amazingly the hulking, enormous planet might not have been seen at all, as the camouflaging light emitted by dual star systems can make these discoveries via telescope challenging. Great job, scientists, especially considering the news that the planet lies at the exact right distance from its stars to inhabit the area potentially hospitable to life: the "Goldilocks" zone, as our distance from our own Sun is referred to. Everything at this distance is "just right" for life to have emerged from the primordial goop of vast nothingness which was there until life on our planet came into being (possibly from Mars!).

This image was removed due to legal reasons.

While this might be great news for people who search for alien life, let us consider for a moment just how massive anything living on this newly discovered home world could be, via some not extremely scientific though absolutely convincing math: Jupiter is 11.2 times the size of Earth, so that would theoretically make any humanoid beings on Kepler-1647 b on average, 62.72 feet tall, or the size of a six-story Earth building (their buildings would be much, much bigger than that). A jumping spider, while currently a tolerable Earth-size of a half inch, would be a hideously intolerable half-foot across on this terrible nightmare planet we can never go to for any reason. A basketball would be 11 feet across and no use to anyone.

I think we can all agree, Kepler-1647 b: let's never go there. Which is fine because it is so, so blissfully far away from us, it would take 3,700 light-years to get there. Or more importantly, for anyone who is there now to get to here. Which they haven't. So far. That we know of. Neither have they figured out yet how to contact us, so let's just leave it at that. It's fine, I wouldn't worry about it.


Elmo is a writer with Real Future.

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