Question Sheet: Two Suns in the Sky


Before reading:

  1. What makes a sunset beautiful? 
  2. If there is life on another planet, what might the planet be like? What

    would be important for life to exist there?

During reading:

  1. What is a binary star? 
  2. Why does David Trilling say: “The big splash from our work is that the

    number of potential sites for planetary system formation has just gone up


  3. Why do dusty disks form in solar systems that contain planets? 
  4. What are some of the difficulties of locating planets in other solar


  5. Why did Trilling and other researchers only get an image of a fuzzy blob

    from their telescope images of the dusty rings? 

  6. Why do some scientists think that binary stars are the best place to look

    for life on other planets? 

  7. How would having two suns affect how warm and how brightly lit a planet is?

After reading:

  1. How would you go about looking for planets in the sky? How would you map

    your finding? How would you collect the data if you had a high-powered


  2. This article describes a problem of viewing the dusty disks through a

    telescope. Create a drawing where you illustrate this problem and label the

    different parts. How does this drawing help you understand the scientist’s


  3. Scientists do not know why dusty disks are common in binary systems. What

    next steps could they take to learn more about this problem? (Remember these

    stars are VERY far away!) 

  4. Do you think there is life on another planet? Why or why not? 
  5. How might the presence of asteroids affect the planets in the dusty ring?


Where in the United States would be the best place to put a telescope? Why?


  1. Imagine that you live on a planet with a binary star. Write three fictional

    journal entries on the weather and climate on your planet. 

  2. Scientists who discover things often name them. What would be a good name

    for planets that exist in a dusty ring of asteroids? Explain why you like the

    name you have chosen.