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Stargazers capture first picture of a planet with two suns – just like Luke Skywalker’s home planet of Tatooine in Star Wars
French astronomy team find object orbiting binary stars
SMASS103(AB)b could be a so-called Tatooine worldDistance from suns suggest it is a planet formed from solar dust

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Discovery: The binary stars appear to have a large object orbiting them (the circle and green arrow demonstrate the planets movement between 2002 and 2012)

However, it is so massive that researchers are not sure yet if it is a failed star or an enormous planet.

They say deciding its identity could teach us more about how stars and planets form.

The arid, lawless landscape of Tattoine was the setting for some of the most famous scenes in the Star Wars films.

Planets orbiting binary stars have been seen before, but only through indirect methods.

Philippe Delorme of the Joseph Fourier University in Grenoble, France, and colleagues took the picture in November last year.

After searching the telescopes archives they discovered the large object had moved considerably between 2002 and 2012.

They believe it is orbiting the dual suns at a distance of about 12.5billion kilometres.

This would be close enough for it to have been born from a disc of the dust surrounding them, as a planet would.

Iconic: In the Star Wars films, Luke Skywalker lives on a fictional planet with two suns called Tatooine

Iconic: In the Star Wars films, Luke Skywalker lives on a fictional planet with two suns called Tatooine

But it is 12 to 14 times the mass of Jupiter, placing it near the dividing line between planets and failed stars called brown dwarfs.

'It's either one of the most massive planets you can form or the lowest-mass star you can imagine,' Delorme told New Scientist.

Delorme added that the current mass-based dividing line between planets and failed stars 'is more of a working definition, as it is easier to measure the mass of an object than its past formation history'.

His team is now analysing the object's light spectrum to learn more about its atmosphere.

'It's a really cool image,' Ben Burningham of the University of Hertfordshire told new Scientist.

Asked whether he thinks 2MASS0103(AB)b is really a Tatooine planet, Burningham said: 'I'm giving it a firm maybe.'