Wednesday, June 30, 2010

First Ever Earth Based Photo of an Alien Planet

O.K. - so it's never going to be a tourist destination. No white sand beaches, scantily clad blue natives or exotic cocktails.It's hotter than Jupiter at about 2,700 degrees Fahrenheit  (about 1,500 degrees Celsius).

Photo credit - Gemini Observatory

No, what makes this spectacular is that it is the first direct photograph of an exo-planet by an Earth based telescope. Until now, we have detected exo-planets either through the gravitational wobble in the parent star, or through the observed dimming or occultation that occurs in the star's luminosity as a planet transits in front of it. The observation was made by the Gemini Observatory using adaptive optics and two identical telescopes in Hawaii and Chile.

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