Telescopes See 'Distant Planet'

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zavvy

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<b>Telescopes See 'Distant Planet'</b> <br /><br />LINK<br /><br />Astronomers say they have obtained the first confirmed images of a planet beyond our own Solar System. <br /><br />The new world, which is one to two times the size of Jupiter, orbits a star called GQ Lupi - thought to be like a young version of the Sun. <br /><br />An exoplanet image was released last year, but astronomers said it was unclear if the planet was orbiting its star or an object in the background. <br /><br />However, the latest object is clearly orbiting GQ Lupi, say experts. <br /><br />The star and its orbiting planet are located in a star-forming region about 400 light-years away. <br /><br />The planet has been observed by a team of European astronomers since 1999. <br /><br />They have taken three images using the European Southern Observatory's (ESO) Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile, the Hubble Space Telescope and the Japanese Subaru Telescope in Hawaii. <br /><br />Because it is in a young system, the planet is relatively hot. This helped astronomers detect the planet in the glare from its host star. <br /><br />The planet is also quite far from GQ Lupi - about 100 times the distance between the Sun and the Earth, which helped the team separate light between the two objects. <br /><br />Astronomers have found about 150 exoplanets over the past decade, but most of these have been detected via the gravitational "wobbles" they induce in their parent stars. <br /><br />The research is due to be published in a future issue of the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics. <br /><br />
 
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CalliArcale

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You could theoretically isolate the spectrum of the planet from the spectrum of the star, but you can't tell a crescent in a spectrum. Spectra are not distinct images.<br /><br />The limiting factor is resolution of images. We need better resolution than is available using current equipment and current techniques. I think we're getting awfully close to being able to image really big planets (gas giants) but I suspect we're a ways from imaging iceballs, unless there are any iceballs a heck of a lot bigger than previously imagined. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p><font color="#666699"><em>"People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint it's more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly . . . timey wimey . . . stuff."</em>  -- The Tenth Doctor, "Blink"</font></p> </div>
 
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emperor_of_localgroup

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Let me play the devils advocate here. The planet appears to be, excluding the glow region, only around 15 times smaller than the star. Isn't that size to large for a planet? <br /><br />Also a question to the experts in star formation on this forum. Is it possible for a planet sized star to be formed? And revolve around a larger star just like a planet? The reason I'm asking this strange question is the reflected light or radiation from a passive planet would be too faint to be detected so clearly. Sorry, I have a negative mind. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <font size="2" color="#ff0000"><strong>Earth is Boring</strong></font> </div>
 
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najab

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><i>The planet appears to be, excluding the glow region, only around 15 times smaller than the star. Isn't that size to large for a planet?</i><p>First off, that depends on the size of the star - astronomers recently found a star that's only 3 times the size of Jupiter. Secondly, and more importantly, the apparent size of a celestial body is dependant on it's albedo - highly reflective bodies appear larger than dark, dull ones. Given its distance to its sun, that planet would have to be highly reflective to not have been boiled away.</p>
 
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