As far as stars go, ours is fairly ordinary and straightforward: a giant ball of absurdly hot gas that showed up a few billion years ago and has about a few billion left. But our sun is just one of at least 70 sextillion stars in the universe; with a number that huge, there are bound to be many far more interesting and bizarre than our own.
1 Double Stars With Double Planets Circling Them
To date, only four planets have been discovered orbiting a double-star system, which means Tatooine is even less likely to exist than you might have imagined. So when a recent double-star system was discovered with not one, but two planets orbiting around them, the reaction within the scientific community was nothing short of pure shock.
The Kepler-47 system has two stars, one roughly the size of the Sun and another three times as small. Orbiting those two are a couple of planets; one of which is within the fabled “habitable zone,” the distance from a star equal to our own, and a signal of potential for life. Or rather, it would be if the planet in question wasn’t a gas giant. Regardless, the existence of the Kepler system renews hope among astronomers that habitable planets do exist and that they could turn up just about anywhere.
2 A Cold, Dying Star That’s Still Brighter Than Our Own
Our Sun, like most stars, is a tad hot. It isn’t until they begin to die that stars cool to a level only slightly less tolerable than swimming in molten lava. Once that happens though, these stars become virtually invisible, especially to the naked eye.
Someone forgot to tell that to La Superba though, a dying red giant about 710 light-years away. At around 2,400 °C (4,400 °F), La Superba is practically frigid as far as stars are concerned. And yet it shines with a brightness that makes our Sun look like a mere nightlight, with over 4,400 times more luminosity (mostly attributed to massive amounts of infrared radiation). This radiation helps give La Superba an incredibly bright red appearance, which allows it to be seen with the naked eye.