Scholastic News Online

Scholastic News Online is a free resource with breaking news and highlights from the print magazine.

Available for grades 1-6, Scholastic News magazine brings high-interest current events and nonfiction to millions of classrooms each week.

Additionally, our subscribers have FREE access to Scholastic News Interactive, an exclusive online learning tool featuring digital editions, videos, interactive features, differentiated articles, and much more.

The planet Kepler-16b orbits two stars, giving it two sunrises and two sunsets. (NASA / JPL-Caltech / T. Pyle)

A Planet With Two Suns

Astronomers discover a solar system that’s straight out of science fiction

By Sara Goudarzi | null null , null
<p>Kepler-16b is roughly the size of Saturn while its two suns are smaller than our own sun. <br />(NASA / JPL-Caltech / R. Hurt)<br /></p>

Kepler-16b is roughly the size of Saturn while its two suns are smaller than our own sun.
(NASA / JPL-Caltech / R. Hurt)

Astronomers have discovered a planet with two suns, much like Luke Skywalker’s fictional home in Star Wars.

Earlier this month, NASA announced that the Kepler space telescope has uncovered a distant planet, dubbed Kepler-16b, circling two stars like our sun. This means that the planet has two sunrises and two sunsets.

But unlike Luke Skywalker’s Tatooine, the cold and inhospitable Kepler-16b doesn’t support life.


In March 2009, NASA launched Kepler into outer space to search for Earth-like planets in our galaxy, the Milky Way. The spacecraft has been orbiting, or circling, the sun. As it orbits, it measures the brightness of about 155,000 stars and monitors any planets that pass in front of them.

Astronomers learned of the two stars, called a binary star system, when the stars eclipsed, or blocked, each other from Kepler’s perspective. An eclipse occurs when a large body moves in front of another and blocks the light that ordinarily reaches the observer.

Scientists also noticed that at times both stars appeared dim—even when one was not in front of the other. This meant that a third object was circling both stars.

More measurements showed that the third object is a planet. Scientists believe that Kepler-16b is as massive as Saturn, and that the stars it orbits are smaller than our sun.

“This discovery is stunning,” says Alan Boss, a researcher involved with the finding. “Once again, what used to be science fiction has turned into reality.”

  • Teacher Store
  • The Teacher Store  
    Pluto: Dwarf Planet

    Pluto: Dwarf Planet

    by Christine Taylor-Butler


    11/1/07 School Library Journal
    These titles, which were originally published in 2005, all feature an updated boilerplate map of the planets (except in Mars, where Pluto's orbit is still visible) but only Pluto has undergone enough other revision to consider as a replacement. For libraries that don't own them already, however, they make appealing choices for their colorful layouts, simple writing, and emergent-reader-friendly facts.


    $14.00 You save: 30%
    Library Binding | Grades 1-2
    Add To Cart
    Educators Only
    Pluto: Dwarf Planet
    Grades 1-2 $14.00
    Add To Cart
  • Teacher Store
  • The Teacher Store  
    High Interest Books—What If?

    High Interest Books—What If?


    •     The ultimate series of "high-low" books for reluctant readers
    •     Clearly written, simple sentences
    •     Consistent, familiar vocabulary
    •     Sidebars
    •     User-friendly fact boxes, charts, and tables
    •     Where appropriate, some titles include timelines, equipment lists, safety tips, and maps


       The Book Report
      "Although written for the upper elementary or middle school student, these books can be used in a high school wanting to increase its holdings of high-interest, low-level reading materials."


      $51.45 You save: 30%
      Hardcover Book Collection | Grades 4-12
      Add To Cart
      Educators Only
    High Interest Books—What If?
    Grades 4-12 $51.45
    Add To Cart
Privacy Policy




Here's something interesting from