[asa] Very first image of exoplanet around Sun-like star

From: George Cooper <georgecooper@sbcglobal.net>
Date: Fri Sep 19 2008 - 09:56:41 EDT

Another first.




As telescopes and sensors become bigger and better more planets will be
seen. Although over 300 exoplanets are known, their existence is inferred
from their host star's behavior (eg. wiggles and light variations) and not
seen directly. This is the very first direct image (not visible light but
IR) of an exoplanet that may be orbiting a star somewhat similar to the
Sun. [It is actually a K class star and our Sun is more massive and
brighter G2 class star.]


It is likely this massive exoplanet - about 8 times the mass of Jupiter -
formed on its own within the original molecular cloud and not by aggregation
within the star's accretion disk due to its vast distance from the star (330
AU, or > 10 times the Sun-Neptune distance). [It is likely a bit further
since the orbital plane inclination to our point of view is not yet known
and the cosine of this inclination angle must be divided into this 330AU
distance to determine its true distance from the star.]


[Ignore the apparent sizes of these two objects. This is simply glare.]


The number of stars exceed the number of grains of sand on every beach of
every shore on our planet. The number of planets may be greater still.






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Received on Fri Sep 19 09:57:02 2008

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