Monday, June 03, 2013

Newly Discovered 'Alien Planet' Shown in Photograph

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Newly Discovered Alien Planet HD 95086 b
This image from ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT) shows the newly discovered
planet HD95086 b, next to its parent star. (The star itself has been removed
from the picture during processing toenhance the view of the faint exoplanet and
its position is marked.)

Never-Before-Seen Alien Planet Imaged Directly in New Photo

By Miriam Kramer

      A newly discovered gaseous planet has been directly photographed orbiting a star about 300 light-years from Earth. Imaging alien planets is difficult, and this world may be the least massive planet directly observed outside of the solar system, scientists say.

A sharp new photo released by the European Southern Observatory (ESO) today (June 3) depicts the suspected gas giant (called HD 95086 b) circling its young star (named HD 95086) in infrared light. The star has been removed from the image to allow the planet — shown as a bright blue dot at the bottom left of the picture — to shine through.

HD 95086 b was sighted by ESO's Very Large Telescope in Chile. Based on the planet's brightness, scientists estimate that it is only about four or five times more massive than Jupiter. . . .

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