I was reading a couple of Earth-Moon related questions (Mars just collided with Earth! A question of eccentricity, Could the earth have another moon?) and they got me thinking about planet-moon systems in general.
Binary star systems are pretty common. The types of the two stars in the binary can vary pretty widely (main sequence, puslar/neutron star, black hole, white dwarf, giant phases, etc, etc), but some are formed of a pair of roughly equal mass (within a factor of <10).
I can't say I've ever heard of a binary planet system, though. Of course a planet with a moon is sort of a binary, but I've never heard of an equal mass binary planet. I think the closest thing in the solar system would be the Pluto-Charon system, with a mass ratio of about 10:1.
Is there any reason a binary planet would be unstable? Obviously this is a three-body system, which has some inherent instability, but Earth-Moon-Sun seems pretty stable. Would increasing the mass of the Moon to match that of Earth make the system unstable?
How about gas-giants? I think a Jupiter-Jupiter binary close to a star would be short lived because of three-body interactions, but what about further out? Would, for instance, a double-Jupiter or double-Saturn be stable in our solar system? Or is there some tidal effect that would cause the orbit to decay and the binary planet to merge?
As an aside, it seems that binary asteroids aren't terribly difficult to find... perhaps we just haven't seen any binary planets yet because they're only stable relatively far away from their star, making them difficult to detect outside our own solar system?