Saturday, November 15, 2008

First Photos of Exoplanets

Astronomers may have taken the first direct images of planets orbiting other stars. The infrared photo above was taken by our Gemini North telescope atop Mauna Kea. A trio of planets are shown orbiting star HR 8799. The 2006 Hubble Space Telescope image below shows a ring of debris orbiting Fomalhaut. The planet (inset) has a mass about 3 times that of Jupiter and would orbit the star every 872 years. As we have seen with Saturn's moons, this planet would sculpt the ring edges.



Blogger Kea said...

Sorry to be off topic, but Sean's post today had me rolling on the floor. He doesn't seem to be too good at reading graphs. Quoting the final paragraph: Would a young cosmologist who didn’t believe in the Big Bang be offered a faculty job, or receive tenure, today? Probably not. Faculty jobs are scarce commodities, and a university is going to want to hire people who will do interesting and productive work that is of some use to the wider community.

9:20 AM  
Blogger L. Riofrio said...

Hi Kea. You continue to point out the important stuff. You are a needed counterpoint to the self-centred variants out there.

At least someone knows how to run a "control" experiment. The test subject believes in "dark energy" and all the fashions of science yet gets denied tenure anyway.

I am pleased to hear hints that you will be getting a good position soon. Things are going great at this undisclosed location too.

2:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't it wonderful that we see planets out there ? I am really excited by these recent developments. Thank you Louise for the infrared pic, which I would have missed if you had not posted it in this always very beautiful and informative blog.

And sorry for being lazy lately... I could not follow every single blog I want to visit, because I have things piling up!


11:07 AM  

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