• We normally think of planets orbiting sedately around their star, like Earth does.Binary systems are more complicated, but astronomers usually assume that a planet will stay confined to a single plane of motion, tracing a disc either around both its parent stars or just one.
  • A new model shows that, if you imagine a line connecting the two stars, a planet could trace a corkscrew around that line, travelling back and forth between the stars. As it moves closer to one star, the spirals get closer and closer together as the planet moves more slowly, until it turns and moves back toward the other star. In the middle, it traces wild, fast curves around the axis.
  • Life – if it could survive – would be very different to that on Earth. Sandwiched between two stars, only a small slice of the planet would ever experience night. If the planet was tilted on its own axis, then mini seasons would come and go quickly, with every turn of the spiral.

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