First photographed distant planet

18.05.2004

18.05.2004


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Infrared photograph taken space telescope "Hubble" may become the first photograph of an exoplanet. Although scientists have known more than 120 planets outside our solar system, so far none of them have been photographed. Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania, analyzed the new snapshot, it is believed that the greased ball in this picture — none other than the planet. It will take a few more observations to confirm or deny this. While researchers do not offer even the exact position of the star, for fear that their work will take advantage of other astronomers.

• Is this the first picture of the planet, is not located in the solar system

If this is indeed the planet, its mass is five to ten times the mass of Jupiter, and it is about 100 light-years from Earth. Its orbit is about the same as that of Neptune.

So far exoplanet spotted by circumstantial evidence — gravitational influence on the star or reject it starlight. Directly to photograph the planet still did not work. American scientists have bypassed this problem by finding a planet by infrared radiation. In this part of the spectrum as opposed to visible light, the contrast in brightness between the star and planet thousands of times smaller, so that the glow planet less likely go unnoticed.

First, the researchers "trained" "Hubble" to white dwarfs, and then began to explore the surrounding area. After seeing the seven located nearby white dwarfs, they found three objects that theoretically could be planets. Two of them were more brown dwarfs (stars with underweight), whose mass exceeds the mass of Jupiter, more than 10 times. But one was below this level, by weight, and possibly significantly less, said study leader Sein Segurdsson. This means that the most likely object is a planet. However, there is 3% chance that this is not a planet orbiting around the star, and the star, which is in another part of the universe.

18.05.2004

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