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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.

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.

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