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Image of the first planet outside of our solar system

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posted on Sep, 18 2008 @ 11:49 PM
The page where this image is located is one of my favorite websites that hosts images of different celestial objects.
This particular image is of a star thats much like our sun but somewhat younger in age and its companion, a planet about 8 times the size of jupiter and orbiting about 330 astronomical units, (AU)
Its said to be the first image of an exoplanet that orbits a Sun so similar to our own.
I hope the image isnt to big to post directly in the thread.


Explanation: Located just 500 light-years away toward the constellation Scorpius, this star is only slightly less massive and a little cooler than the Sun. But it is much younger, a few million years old compared to the middle-aged Sun's 5 billion years. This sharp infrared image shows the young star has a likely companion positioned above and left - a hot planet with about 8 times the mass of Jupiter, orbiting a whopping 330 times the Earth-Sun distance from its parent star. The young planetary companion is still hot and relatively bright in infrared light due to the heat generated during its formation by gravitational contraction. In fact, such newborn planets are easier to detect before they age and cool, becoming much fainter. Though over 300 extrasolar planets have been found using other techniques, this picture likely represents the first direct image of a planet belonging to a star similar to the Sun.

[edit on 9/19/2008 by Kr0n0s]

posted on Sep, 19 2008 @ 12:14 AM
Wow, thanks for posting that. Mind blowing.

posted on Sep, 19 2008 @ 12:26 AM
Whats even more mind blowing is that they used a land based telescope to view it and to take this picture.
I cant wait for them to swing the Hubble around to its position for an even closer inspection.
I wonder why this historical event hasnt gotten any coverage from any of the major news sites?
Oh never mind, I know the answer to that! The only heavenly bodies the mass media are interested in are the ones in Hollywood.
How awesome would it be if Hubble was actually able to pick up some of the other planets that are almost assuredly orbiting around this Sun?
Maybe they will spot one that sits within the habitable zone of the solar system but if its anywhere near the size of earth, I doubt they will be able to see it.


Astronomers have unveiled what is likely the first picture of a planet around a normal star similar to the Sun. Three University of Toronto scientists used the Gemini North telescope on Mauna Kea in Hawai‘i to take images of the young star 1RXS J160929.1-210524 (which lies about 500 light-years from Earth) and a candidate companion of that star. They also obtained spectra to confirm the nature of the companion, which has a mass about eight times that of Jupiter, and lies roughly 330 times the Earth-Sun distance away from its star. (For comparison, the most distant planet in our solar system, Neptune, orbits the Sun at only about 30 times the Earth-Sun distance.) The parent star is similar in mass to the Sun, but is much younger.

“This is the first time we have directly seen a planetary mass object in a likely orbit around a star like our Sun,” said David Lafrenière, lead author of a paper submitted to the Astrophysical Journal Letters and also posted online. “If we confirm that this object is indeed gravitationally tied to the star, it will be a major step forward.” Until now, the only planet-like bodies that have been directly imaged outside of the solar system are either free-floating in space (i.e. not found around a star), or orbit brown dwarfs, which are dim and make it easier to detect planetary-mass companions. The existence of a planetary-mass companion so far from its parent star comes as a surprise, and poses a challenge to theoretical models of star and planet formation. "This discovery is yet another reminder of the truly remarkable diversity of worlds out there, and it's a strong hint that nature may have more than one mechanism for producing planetary mass companions to normal stars,” said Ray Jayawardhana, team member and author of a forthcoming book on extrasolar planets entitled Worlds Beyond. The team’s Gemini observations took advantage of adaptive optics technology to dramatically reduce distortions caused by turbulence in Earth’s atmosphere. The near-infrared images and spectra of the suspected planetary object indicate that it is too cool to be a star or even a more massive brown dwarf, and that it is young. Taken together, such findings confirm that it is a very young, very low-mass object at roughly the same distance from Earth as the star.

[edit on 9/19/2008 by Kr0n0s]

posted on Sep, 19 2008 @ 01:53 AM
Actually, this has been posted here before, and it's not the first photo of a planet outside of our solar system.
What it IS however, is a planet captured around a Sol like star.
Additionally, if it really is a planet (because they're not 100% sure yet) then it'll raise some questions about how we believe solar systems form. Which is a cool thing.
The size alone is mind boggling. If that is indeed a planet, it's eight times larger than Jupiter, meaning it's much larger than what we thought Jupiter would have lit up at.

posted on Sep, 19 2008 @ 02:28 AM

Originally posted by RuneSpider
Actually, this has been posted here before, and it's not the first photo of a planet outside of our solar system.
What it IS however, is a planet captured around a Sol like star.

Yes, I realize that, I mentioned that in my text and it was mentioned in the texts from the external links.
However, I didnt know it had already been posted, I did do a quick search, prior to posting but I must've missed it.
I made a thread about this for 2 reasons.
First and most obvious, is its significance to the astronomical/scientific community.
Second, I just found it very curious that I didnt see an article about it in any of the 3 major news sites that I glance over at least once a da.
I suppose it couldve been there somewhere below "more important" articles about our celebrities and Gov Palin lol.
Or maybe it wasnt that newsworthy at the time of its release (15th) due to the coverage of Ike, which is understandable.

The planet alone is very significant but Im more interested in what could be orbiting much closer to its Sun, however if there is something else there it may be to small to be seen very well with even the Hubble.

We should also consider that this could be a twin star system, the "planet" sure is bright, especially considering the distance.
Possible that its a very small sun, orbiting a much larger sun?

[edit on 9/19/2008 by Kr0n0s]

posted on Sep, 19 2008 @ 08:58 AM

The planet alone is very significant but Im more interested in what could be orbiting much closer to its Sun,

probably nothing if Anthony Whitworth and colleagues planetary formation model is correct . Big gas giants at these extreme distances nothing closer in.

secondly this star is only a few million years old which would not be old enough to develop life or complex life.

still it makes me wonder what we will be able to acheive with adaptive optics in the future.

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