First Direct Image of Exoplanets Around a Sun-like Star

We have already directly imaged 322 exoplanets as of February 2020. Young planets that emit infrared light and are far from the glare of the star are the easiest to spot. NASA maintains a list of directly imaged exoplanets.

The European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (ESO’s VLT) has taken the first ever image of a young, Sun-like star accompanied by two giant exoplanets. Images of systems with multiple exoplanets are extremely rare, and — until now — astronomers had never directly observed more than one planet orbiting a star similar to the Sun. ESO revealed a planetary system being born in a new, stunning VLT image. Now, the same telescope, using the same instrument, has taken the first direct image of a planetary system around a star like our Sun, located about 300 light-years away and known as TYC 8998-760-1. 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 two gas giants orbit their host star at distances of 160 and about 320 times the Earth-Sun distance. This places these planets much further away from their star than Jupiter or Saturn, also two gas giants, are from the Sun; they lie at only 5 and 10 times the Earth-Sun distance, respectively. The team also found the two exoplanets are much heavier than the ones in our Solar System, the inner planet having 14 times Jupiter’s mass and the outer one six times.

SOURCES- European Southern Observatory
Written By Brian Wang