Thursday, September 18, 2008

Astronomers may have first picture of an extra-solar planet

A group of Canadian astronomers may have the first picture of a planet circling a star other than our Sun, reports National Geographic. Further observation is needed to confirm the object (probably a gas giant 8-times the size of Jupiter) is actually circling the star it’s photographed next to.

If this turns out to be the real deal, this is a big step in exo-planetary exploration. Until now, discovery of planets circling other stars has been a bit abstract. Basically, a “discovery” is made when scientists detect tiny wobbles in a star’s rotation. In theory, the wobble is caused by a circling planet’s own gravity. And then using spectral analysis, scientists can learn more details about the planet (for example, the composition of its atmosphere).



(Photo courtesy Gemini Observatory)

Pound360 Archive

About Me

My photo
I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.