Snapshot of a planet beyond the solar system

The image is possibly the first of an extrasolar planet orbiting a normal star, but some of its features counter current thinking.

9:28am, September 15, 2008

After years of searching, astronomers may finally have recorded the first image of a planet orbiting a sunlike star beyond the solar system. The body, about eight times Jupiter’s mass, lies exceptionally far from its presumed parent star — roughly 11 times Neptune’s average distance from the sun.

“If this object is a planet at such a wide separation it would challenge our conceptions of planet and companion formation,” says theorist Adam Burrows of Princeton University.

This article is available only to subscribing members. Join SSP today or Log in.

More from Science News