Help Shape the Future of Space Exploration

Join The Planetary Society Now  arrow.png

Join our eNewsletter for updates & action alerts

    Please leave this field empty

Headshot of Emily Lakdawalla

Actual images of planets around other stars

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla

13-11-2008 13:49 CST


If you read any space blog other than mine you'll know already that today not one but three major observatories announced that they had successfully taken images of planets in orbit around other stars. One announcement came from Hubble, which has taken a photo of a three-Jupiter-mass planet orbiting the bright southern star Fomalhaut, which is 25 light years from Earth. The other announcement was the combined effort of astronomers at the Gemini North and Keck II telescopes on Mauna Kea: working together, they imaged three planets of ten, ten, and seven Jupiter masses in orbit around a young, massive star called HR 8799. This one is 130 light years from Earth. We've known for about ten years that there are such things as exoplanets using various tricky methods to detect their effects on the light of their host stars, but the planets themselves have never been imaged before; doing so has been likened to photographing a firefly next to a searchlight.

These are landmark announcements. I'd write much more, but fortunately for me (since I've got lots of other projects going) Amir Alexander is on the beat and will have an in-depth story posted to the home page late this afternoon or tomorrow. I'll update this post with a link when his story is done. And here is Amir's story, "Scientists Lay Eyes on Distant Planets.

See other posts from November 2008


Or read more blog entries about:


Leave a Comment:

You must be logged in to submit a comment. Log in now.
Facebook Twitter Email RSS AddThis

Blog Search

Essential Advocacy

Our Advocacy Program 
provides each Society member 
a voice in the process.

Funding is critical. The more 
we have, the more effective 
we can be, translating into more 
missions, more science, 
and more exploration.


Featured Images

Ganymede from Voyager 1
LightSail 2 with mini-DVD
LightSail 2 after antenna deployment
LightSail 2 sail deployment test from +X camera
More Images

Featured Video

The Planetary Post - A Visit To JPL

Watch Now

Space in Images

Pretty pictures and
awe-inspiring science.

See More

Join the New Millennium Committee

Let’s invent the future together!

Become a Member

Connect With Us

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and more…
Continue the conversation with our online community!