First planet discovered orbiting two suns nicknamed “Tatooine”

Kepler-16b

Even with two suns Kepler-16b is a cold, gaseous planet not believed to harbor life.

The Kepler Mission consists of a scientific NASA satellite called “Kepler” designed to discover Earth-size planets within our Milky Way galaxy.

New worlds are discovered when a planet crosses in front of its star as viewed by an observer, the event is called a transit. Transits by terrestrial planets produce a small change in a star’s brightness of about 1/10,000 (100 parts per million, ppm), lasting for 1 to 16 hours. This change must be periodic if it is caused by a planet.

Kepler-16b confirms the existence of a new class of planetary systems. This is especially important because most stars in our galaxy are part of a binary system. This discovery increases the chance of life on other planets.

Unlike its SyFy counterpart Tatooine, Kepler-16b is inhospitable, a cold planet as big as Saturn and believe to be made up of rock and gas. Nevertheless some scientists are beginning to informally call Kepler-16b, Tatooine.

Visual effects supervisor John Knoll of Industrial Light and Magic commented on the discovery saying, “It’s possible there’s a real Tatooine is out there.”

Related Stories

NASA’s Kepler Mission Discovers a World Orbiting Two Stars (kepler.nasa.gov)
NASA Discovers “Tatooine” — First Planet With Two Suns (mashable.com)
NASA’S Kepler Discovery Confirms First Planet Orbiting Two Stars (nasa.gov)

Review: “GpsFix” by Android Labs

Google Maps, Foursquare, Gowalla, Geocaching and other GPS enabled apps require a GPS fix on your location to property provide you with the information you need. But sometimes your actual location and the one shown on your smart phone can be completely different.

GpsFix

For one reason or another your location can be skewed. This is usually cased by something interfering with the GPS signal like trees or tall buildings. Also the phones GPS/AGPS receiver is only active for a short period of time. This can cause false locations if your app did not acquire your location before the receiver deactivated.

When this happens your left with refreshing the GPS through the app your using. This option always seems to take time and it does not always work.

GpsFix is designed to sync your phone with all the satellites ahead of time.

Activate the app and click “Start Fixing.” Satellite icons will then appear indicating that the phone is locking onto different satellites in your area. GpsFix will keep the GPS/AGPS receiver on until your phones actual location is fixed.

The app works quickly, and once done back arrow out and activate the app your interested in using.

GpsFix will also give you your latitude and longitude and usually your address. The app is so good that when I tested it indoors it still found my location. Of course I was near some windows but I’ve yet to see other apps pull that off as quickly and accurately.

GpsFix is Free and is available for Android devices.

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