Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Possible First Photo of Exoplanet Around Sun-Like Star

At left is a picture taken by the Gemini Observatory. Astronomers are hopeful that it is a photograph of an planet (the small object in the upper left) that orbits a sun-like star -- the first yet taken.

From the story on Space.com:

This distant world is giant (about eight times the mass of Jupiter) and lies far out from its star (about 330 times the Earth-Sun distance). But for all the planet's strangeness, its star is quite like our own sun. ...

Further study will be needed to prove that the planet is in fact orbiting around the star ...

The strange planet so far from its parent star is unexpected based on current theories of star and planet formation. For comparison, the farthest planet in our solar system, Neptune, lies only 30 times the Earth-sun distance away from the sun.

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