Jul 31, 2009
Photograph of Alien World Makes History sciencetech” />
Image by: Gemini Observatory
Written by new contributor, Jonathan Fincher
Do you see that photo above? As far as photos of our universe go, it’s pretty blurry and not all that spectacular, except for one little detail: this is the first photo of a planet orbiting a star outside of our solar system. Ever.
The image was taken by three University of Toronto scientists using the Gemini North telescope trained on the distant star (lovingly named ‘1RXS J160929.1-210524′). Up until this point, the only planet-like objects scientists had clearly observed in space did not appear locked in orbit around a star much like our own sun. This could shake up some widely held astronomical theories though, since the supposed planet is located farther from it’s ’sun’ than researchers thought possible. That is, if continued observation can confirm that this large mass actually is orbiting the star. According to scientist, Dr. David Lafrenière:
“Of course it would be premature to say that the object is definitely orbiting this star, but the evidence is extremely compelling. This will be a very intensely studied object for the next few years!”
Source: Gemini Observatory
throw in a free album
About the author: Jonathan grew up travelling throughout the world and has made a point of continuing that whenever possible. For the time being, he’s based in Oregon, where the weird and wonderful seem to thrive. He probably knows more about video games than the environment but still finds it interesting and loves to learn more about it.