The desert planet Tatooine was Luke Skywalker’s home in “Star Wars”, with twin sunsets because it orbits two stars. So far, only uninhabitable gas-giant planets have been identified circling such binary stars, and many researchers believe rocky planets cannot form there. Now, mathematical simulations show that Earthlike, solid planets such as Tatooine likely exist and may be widespread.
“Tatooine sunsets may be common after all. Our main result is that outside a small region near a , [either rocky or gas-giant] planet formation can proceed in much the same was as around a single star. In our scenario, planets are as prevalent around binaries as around single stars.”