First Extra-solar Planetary Picture

April 1, 2005

Physical Sciences, Technology

I just noted that is reporting the first confirmed “extra-solar” planetary picture ever recorded. While there have been many planets “discovered” based upon gravitational influences, this is the first visual confirmation of such a companion. Ralph Neuhaeuser (European Southern Observatory, Chile) discovered this planet orbiting GQ Lupi. The planet is roughly 100 times further from its sun than the Earth is from our sun. But because the planet is young, it is only ~150 times fainter than the star itself. For comparison purposes, this planet is:

  • 1-2 times the mass of Jupiter,
  • Approximately 2000 degrees (Kelvin), and
  • Orbits its sun with a solar period of ~1,200 Earth years




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