Real-life Tatooine discovered in a galaxy not very far, far away after all

The famous planet with two suns was supposed to exist a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.  In fact, a real-life Tatooine was discovered by scientists this year in our own galaxy, only 200 light years away.  That’s right, in our very own galaxy, which in relative terms, might as well be in our backyard.

Yeah, right, and pumpkins grow on trees.  (More on that later).

Luke Skywalker, and we would later learn, his daddy–the guy who would be Darth Vader–both grew up as farmboys, not in Iowa like Captain James T. Kirk, but on Tatooine, a desert planet with two suns “in a galaxy far, far away” according to the original Star Wars and its prequels.  Scientists on this planet revealed their findings yesterday in the September 16th issue of Science.   Using the Kepler space telescope, scientists found a giant planet in orbit around a pair of binary stars that make up what has been labeled the Kepler-16 system.  And it’s only 200 light years away.  Once scientists figure out a quicker way to travel in space, the planet called Kepler 16-b could be one of our first stops.

Quoted at, Alan Boss at the Carnegie Institute in Washington, co-author of the study about the discovery, summed it up: “Once again, what used to be science fiction has turned into reality.”

When I was a kid, I remember a teacher saying it was impossible that a planet could have two suns.  I guess he was wrong.

Now we have proof that a planet can exist revolving around two suns.

Check out’s coverage of this discovery for more info on the scientific detail of this planet.  The images above are artist renderings from the website, and Luke looking at Tatooine’s twin suns daydreaming, and as Yoda said, not focusing on “where he was, what he was doing.”

And about those pumpkins…  And speaking of Iowa…

Last year on October 6, 2010, KCCI-TV, the CBS affiliate in Des Moines, reported photos of orange pumpkins growing from a tree in Des Moines.  Don’t believe it?  Check out this link to the un-doctored photos.

And what do you know, but it’s October again and KCCI-TV reported again yesterday about more pumpkins in trees, this time a bright green pumpkin hanging alongside pears in a pear tree in Greenfield, Iowa.  Check out the photos at KCCI’s website.

What actually is going on?  The summer of 2010 in Iowa was a big rain year and so was this year.  Pumpkin vines made it 12 feet up and higher into the trees.  Still, it’s pretty incredible and it must have been awesome to be the first person to see these.

These are so strange looking I think everyone should start planting pumpkin seeds next to their trees.  It could be the next new landscaping idea.  This and Tatooine in the same week?  A sign of the apocalypse?  Probably not.  But think what would have happened if Isaac Newton had a pumpkin fall on his head instead of that apple.  Maybe he would have been the one to discover a planet with two suns (or had a heck of a bump on his head).

And on your way to I-Con in Altoona today stop off in Greenfield and send us some photos of that pumpkin tree.

C.J. Bunce


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