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Astronomers capture 1st direct image of young giant exoplanet

7 Oct 2020, 11:37 UTC
Astronomers capture 1st direct image of young giant exoplanet
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The arrow here points to the star Beta Pictoris. You can also see 2 of its planets, Beta Pictoris b (discovered in 2008) and Beta Pictoris C, now caught via direct imaging for the first time by the the GRAVITY instrument on the Very Large Telescope in Chile. Image via GRAVITY/ Axel M. Quetz/ MPIA Graphics Department/ Science Alert.
In 2008, astronomers discovered an exoplanet orbiting the young star Beta Pictoris. The planet, a gas giant called Beta Pictoris b, was found by direct imaging, a rare feat since most exoplanets are discovered by more indirect methods. Later studies indicated the probable presence of a second planet as well, Beta Pictoris c. But this one was not so easy to photograph … until now. Researchers with the ExoGRAVITY team, led by Mathias Nowak of Selwyn College/ University of Cambridge, have announced the successful imaging of Beta Pictoris c, with some surprises.
The researchers have released their peer-reviewed results in two new papers in Astronomy & Astrophysics, available here and here.
Beta Pictoris is very close to us on a galactic scale, at only 63 light-years away. It is a very young star, estimated to be about 23 million years old, ...

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