The European Space Observatory’s appropriately named Very Large Telescope has made history with the first picture of two gas giants orbiting a star much like our own sun.
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Located some 300 light-years away from us, this star inhabits an environment “very similar” to our own solar system, PetaPixel reports.
Associate Professor at Leiden University and co-author of the research behind the snapshot, Matthew Kenworthy, said of the capture, “Even though astronomers have indirectly detected thousands of planets in our galaxy, only a tiny fraction of these exoplanets have been directly imaged…direct observations are important in the search for environments that can support life.”
“The direct imaging of two or more exoplanets around the same star is even more rare; only two such systems have been directly observed so far, both around stars markedly different from our Sun. The new ESO’s VLT image is the first direct image of more than one exoplanet around a Sun-like star. ESO’s VLT was also the first telescope to directly image an exoplanet, back in 2004, when it captured a speck of light around a brown dwarf, a type of ‘failed’ star,” the photo press release by the ESO reads in part.
The two gas giants observed orbit their sun at a much larger distance than our system’s two major iconic planets of the same type: Saturn and Jupiter. The ESO states that the two planets are about 160 to 320 the distance between the Earth and the sun. As for the star itself, it is theorized to be just 17 million years old which is much, much younger than our own sun.
You can view the image by clicking here.
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