For the first time, we now have an actual image of our neighbor. Astronomers using the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) located in the Atacama Desert, Chile have created history by capturing the first direct image of exoplanets with a young sun-like star.
These exoplanets are nothing like ours…
The star, named TYC 8998-760-1 close to the mass of our Sun is situated some 300 light-years away from us in the constellation Musca and is just 17 million years old, its kind of a baby of the Universe. While our Sun is 4-billion-year old which is almost 265 times older.
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According to the report published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, the exoplanets that are orbiting the star are gas giants way bigger than Jupiter.
The researchers used Spectro-Polarmeter High-Contrast Exoplanet REsearch (SPHERE) that was designed exclusively for the ‘Very Large Telescope’ to hunt for the new exoplanets.
Even though thousands of exoplanets have been identified by the researchers, only a few were directly observed as most were seen as shadows while crossing their paths around their stars. Only a few exoplanets were photographed close to accurate.
In the above image, one giant that’s orbiting its star closer than the other actually weighs 14 times more than the Jupiter and is 160 times the distance from its star compared to the earth’s distance from its Sun.
And the second giant weighs 6 times more than the actual mass of Jupiter and is 320 times the distance from its parent than Earth is from its star.
Image credit: European Southern Observatory (ESO)
For a better idea, the Voyager 1 that crossed the last planet of our solar system in 2012 isn’t still as far away as either of these exoplanets from its parent star. It’s that long…
The discovery of this solar system has opened a new dimension for the researchers to understand how diverse the universe can be.
“As with many other exoplanet discoveries, this discovery makes us aware of other scenarios that we did not think of,” said astronomer Alexander Bohn of Leiden University, the Netherlands in a report.