date, 930 exoplanets have been detected – but almost all could be detected only indirectly: Now astronomers is the first image of a planet succeeded in orbiting a Sun-like star
A black hole in the middle of orange-blue-black-white dots: Astronomers have for the first time captured an image of a planet orbiting a Sun-like star in a distant solar system. The 60 light years distant planet in the constellation Virgo is quite cold and similar to Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system, such as the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (MPIA) announced in Heidelberg.
The team of astronomers that also includes MPIA scientists, so that took a major hurdle for the detection of solar systems, which are similar to ours.
Astronomers group Motohide Tamura of the University of Tokyo used for their Beoachtungen the Subaru Large Telescope in Hawaii. The infrared images show a planet of the alien sun FY orbits 504 – a star that has the same spectral type as our sun. So far, planet pictures were succeeded only in more luminous stars. Their planets are significantly more massive and hotter and thus take usually easier.
detection of exoplanets difficult
astronomers have discovered so far around 930 so-called exoplanets, ie planets orbiting other stars than our sun. Almost all of these planets could be detected only indirectly – either through their gravitational effect on their home star or because they shade a tiny fraction of the star’s light regularly
exoplanets directly is very difficult. Because stars are billions of times brighter than their planets. In conventional methods of observation a planet is therefore eclipsed by its star.
Sophisticated technical tricks
astronomers are thus reliant on sophisticated technical tricks that were also applied to the observation of the Jupiter-like planet in the star GJ 504 with the inclusion of exoplanets. These include procedures by which the star’s light is mechanically hidden.
Also special analysis methods are used to combine multiple images of the investigated planetary system in just the right way to suppress image noise.