... I just hope this isn't like Kepler's anticlimatic "huge" announcement back in 2011 when everyone was anticipating they found Earth 2, and then it turned out to be Keplers first multiplanet system or some such.
That one actually was quite a big deal,http://www.nasa.gov/...kepler-16b.html
Kepler-16: A Transiting Circumbinary Planethttp://arxiv.org/abs/1109.3432
It was the first detection of a planet in a stable orbit (on the order of at least millions of years) around a binary star system. The significance of that discovery cannot be overstated IMO.
1. For a very long time in Astronomy the modelers were against this being possible, as they speculated that planets would be tossed out of binary star systems. Some important planet searchers were actually excluding binary systems from searches, in 2005 a top planet searcher Michel Mayor said "A few years ago, it was thought that [binaries] were a very bad site to search for planets," says Michel Mayor of the Observatoire de Geneve. "So we carefully eliminated all binary stars from our sample." Imagine that.
2. Binary star systems probably make up at least 1/3rd to more than half of our galaxy's star systems (i.e. IN ONE ANNOUNCEMENT THE POSSIBLE REAL ESTATE MAY HAVE DOUBLED.) Additionally, it's likely based on research done so far that planets will form from the same accretion disk as the binary system, so that now for many of the eclipsing binaries we see (especially those not in the Kepler sample), detection of planets in eclipsing binary systems using the transit method may be more likely (as the planets are orbiting in the same plane as the eclipsing binary stars, relative to us.)
3. Probably of great significance too, variations in the periodicity of the easier-to-detect planets relative to the binary star periodicities will give away sub-Earth mass planets and even moons!!! That's 'huge'.
Regards, Jason W. Higley