Sunday, September 12, 2004

Possible Extrasolar Planet Pic...

Photo may be first of extrasolar planet, per CNN:
A group of European-led astronomers has made a photograph of what appears to be a planet orbiting another star. If so, it would be the first confirmed picture of a world beyond our solar system. ...The new picture shows a dim, red point of light that Dumas and his colleagues think is a young, giant planet similar to Jupiter. It orbits a failed star known as a brown dwarf, a very dim type of star -- its core does not support nuclear fusion -- that astronomers have for years hoped would make for good planet hunting. The brown dwarf, catalogued as 2M1207, is 42 times less massive than the sun, or some 25 times heftier than Jupiter. ...The possible planet is about five times as massive as Jupiter, the observations show. An analysis of its emissions found it contains water, which suggests its mass is in the range of planets rather than stars, the researchers announced today.

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