For the first time, astronomers have snapped a photo of a planet orbiting a star like our own Sun. That’s it. Not a recreation or illustration. That’s what an alien planet looks like.
It’s big and it’s far out, but on a universal scale, it’s not too different from home.
Here’s what the Gemini Observatory says about their discovery:
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.)
You can read more at The Age.
Photo credit: Gemini Observatory/AURA