Friday, July 02, 2010

First Direct Photo of Alien Planet Finally Confirmed

Exoplanet Orbiting Star
By Denise Chow
SPACE.com
6-29-10

     A planet outside of our solar system, said to be the first ever directly photographed by telescopes on Earth, has been officially confirmed to be orbiting a sun-like star, according to follow-up observations.

The alien planet is eight times the mass of Jupiter and orbits at an unusually great distance from its host star — more than 300 times farther from the star than our Earth is from the sun.

Astronomers first discovered the planet in 2008 using visible light observations from telescopes on Earth, making it the first direct photo of an extrasolar world. But at the time there was still the remote chance that it only looked like it was orbiting the star, from the perspective of Earth, due to a lucky alignment of object, star and observer.

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