Saturday, September 20, 2008

First Historic Image of Planet 3106 Trillion Miles From Earth [Telescopes]


Thanks to the distortion-reducing power of the ALTAIR adaptive optics system on the Gemini North telescope in Hawaii, three University of Toronto scientists were able to capture images of the star 1RXS J160929.1-210524 from a distance of about 500 light years away. The image is believed to be the first ever of a planet in an alien solar system around a sun-like star. The discovery is made even more significant because the "planet" lies a tremendous distance away from its parent star—challenging currently accepted theories about star and planet formation. It will take up to 2 years of research to determine whether or not this object is, in fact, tied to the star by gravity. [Gemini via ScienceNews via DVICE]