Monday, September 15, 2008

Pic of planet around another star

From ScienceDaily: University of Toronto astronomers have posted what could possibly be the first planetary mass type object orbiting a star similar to Sol. The star, which is about 500 ly distant, is very similar to Sol but is much younger. The companion, which has a mass about eight times that of Jupiter, and lies roughly 330 times the Earth-Sun distance away from its star. ( By comparison Neptune, our most distant planet, orbits the Sun at only about 30 times the Earth-Sun distance.) At this early stage, they hesitate to call it a planet, because they are not sure the object is in orbit around the star. However they have determined that it is the same basic distance from Earth as the star. Also spectra shows that it is much to cold to be another star or even a brown dwarf. It will take another couple of years of study to difinitivly prove that the planet and the star are indeed companions, but the proof is already compelling.

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(Credit: Image courtesy of Gemini Observatory)

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