Friday, November 14, 2008

Real science: First pictures of exoplanets!

This is pretty much all over the web - first pictures in visible light & infrared of 4 worlds outside of Sol, in two different solar systems (as opposed to detecting them indirectly). All are several times the size of Jupiter, & farther out in their systems than Jupiter.

  1. 3 planets circling a star called HR 8799, 130 light-years away, in the constellation Pegasus.
  2. 1 planet (named "Fomalhaut b") orbiting the star Fomalhaut, 25 light-years away, in the constellation Piscis Austrinus.

    Actually, I could not see the planet in this image. It's supposed to be a white dot somewhere in the right. But others seem to be able to see it.

    I had noticed something newsworthy about the word "Fomalhaut" before I saw any reports. Google hits of Simon Petrie's story "Fomalhaut 451" (unrelated to this report) showed a major jump since sometime yesterday! But I got the answer only today morning.
Two reports I saw first: New York Times & BBC. Former is much better than BBC post.

[via manofsan@indiansciencefiction]