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Astronomers snap the first baby pictures of a planet

Previously, scientists relied on swirling gas and dust to find hints of embryonic exoplanets

By
3:24pm, July 2, 2018
exoplanet

GATHERING DUST  Images taken by the Very Large Telescope unveil a still-forming exoplanet in the disk of gas and dust around a star about 370 light-years away. The exoplanet (seen here as a bright splotch to the right of its host star, whose light has been blocked out) is a cloudy world several times more massive than Jupiter.

Behold, the sharpest view yet of a planet-in-progress.

New infrared telescope observations reveal an exoplanet that appears to be growing inside the disk of gas and dust around a star about 370 light-years away. Astronomers have indirectly identified other exoplanet embryos by observing the paths that these young worlds cleared through the dusty disks around their parent stars (SN Online: 11/6/14). But pictures released July 2 of the newly discovered exoplanet, dubbed PDS 70b, give the first clear visual of a still-forming exoplanet itself, seen as a bright splotch of light off to the side of its host star.

This exoplanet-in-the-making, described in a pair of papers accepted to Astronomy & Astrophysics, could provide new testing ground for

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