Thursday, November 13, 2008

First Images of a Solar System Outside Our Own

I'm sure many have already heard, but good news! We have actual pictures of a solar system outside our own. From Science Daily:

The host star... is about 130 light years away from Earth... Three planets are all moving with, and orbiting around, the star, proving that they are associated with it rather than just being unrelated background objects coincidentally aligned in the image...

The planets, which formed about sixty million years ago, are young enough that they are still glowing from heat released as they contracted. Analysis... shows that these objects are about seven and ten times the mass of Jupiter. As in our solar system, these giant planets orbit in the outer regions of this system – at roughly 25, 40, and 70 times the Earth-Sun separation...

The parent star HR 8799 has about 1.5 times the mass of the Sun and is 5 times more luminous but is significantly younger...

The picture is from New Scientist, the one below is from Science Daily( the cutout is the image of the massive star.):

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