Question: I’ve heard about these things called exoplanets, but I’m not really sure what they are. When I tried to learn about them online, I couldn’t understand it. I’m supposed to write a science report about exoplanets, and I’m in 8th grade, so please keep your answer simple. — LP, Los Angeles, CA
Answer: No problem LP. I always try to keep my answers simple. Just remember that when you write your report, you should never just copy and paste from Sky Lights. You’ll need to express thing in your own words. And following the links in this post will provide you with additional material.
The image above is the first actual photo of an exoplanet, taken by the ESO with their Very Large Telescope on Cerro Paranal in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile in 2005. This is an infrared image. It shows heat radiation, and not what your eyes would see. The exoplanet is the orange (cooler) object, and the star it orbits is the larger brighter (hotter) object. The exoplanet’s “name” is that long string of numbers and letters at the top left.
The image is so blurry because these are both very small objects very far ...