Scientists just took a real image of a planet in another star system

The planet, known as "b Pictoris c", is located in the Beta Pictoris system approximately 63 light years from Earth. They are trying to determine how it originated using the additional brightness and dynamical mass data obtained by imaging. 

By analyzing the effect the planet had on the parent star's orbit, scientists were able to determine the planet's existence. It's impossible to imagine the planet alone because of how closely it orbits its star.

The researchers used the "radial velocity method," which has been used for years to find hundreds of exoplanets but has never been used to evaluate exoplanets directly.

Using information from the VLT's four telescopes, the team was able to determine the location with extraordinary clarity and capture a photo of it. It was possible to confirm an exoplanet for the first time using direct imaging and the "radial velocity approach"

The new image of Beta Pictoris c next to Beta Pictoris b.

The new image of Beta Pictoris c next to Beta Pictoris b.

Mathias Nowak, the lead author of the paper that was recently published in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics, says, "This implies that we can now obtain both the brightness and mass of this exoplanet." Generally speaking, a planet's brightness increases with size.

To determine mass, researchers must wait until there is enough radial velocity data. This could take some time due to the exoplanet's 28-year orbital period.

Max Planck Institutes for Astronomy and Extraterrestrial Physics lead scientist for the GRAVITY project, Frank Eisenhauer, said in a statement: "The level of detail and sensitivity we can achieve with GRAVITY is remarkable."

“We are just beginning to explore spectacular new worlds, from the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy to planets outside the solar system,” he continued.


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