24/7 Space News
Very Large Telescope captures direct images of bright exoplanet
Chile's Very Large Telescope captures direct images of a bright, Jupiter-like exoplanet after data from two European Space Agency satellites showed a gravitational pull on the planet's host star, AF Leporis. Photo courtesy of ESO/Mesa, De Rosa et al.
Very Large Telescope captures direct images of bright exoplanet
by Sheri Walsh
Washington DC (UPI) Feb 20, 2023

Chile's Very Large Telescope has captured direct images of a bright, Jupiter-like exoplanet after data from two European Space Agency satellites showed a gravitational pull on the planet's host star.

The European Southern Observatory released the photographs Monday, showing what the observatory called the lightest ever exoplanet. The planet orbits the young star AF Leporis, in the constellation Lepus, some 87.5 light-years from Earth.

Astronomers, examining data from the European Space Agency's Hipparcos and Gaia space telescopes, found a tug in the star's orbit, which suggested a very large planet.

"The two teams found that the star AF Leporis exhibited such a disturbed trajectory, a telltale sign that a planet could be hiding there," ESO, which operates the Very Large Telescope, wrote in a statement. "Planets exert a gravitational tug on their host stars, perturbing their trajectory on the sky."

The teams used VLT's adaptive optics system called SPHERE "which corrects the blurring caused by atmospheric turbulence" and "also blocks the light from the star with a special mask, revealing the planet next to it," according to ESO.

A video, released by ESO on Monday, shows infrared observations of the large planet which can be seen as the bright source toward the center-left of the image.

"Molecules in the atmosphere of this planet absorb light at different colors or wavelengths, which makes the planet appear brighter or fainter as the video scans through different wavelengths," ESO said.

The two teams of astronomers revealed the exoplanet is about four to six times the size of Jupiter and is orbiting AF Leporis at about the same distance as Saturn orbits the sun.

Since exoplanets are dimmer than their host stars, photographing them is extremely difficult especially if they are smaller, ESO said.

As of April of 2020, direct imaging has captured 50 exoplanets, but only as the planets pass in front of and dim their parent star, according to The Planetary Society, which is studying more than 5,300 confirmed exoplanets.

While the photographed exoplanet appears to be much larger than Jupiter, AF Leporis is about the same size and temperature as the sun and has a disk of debris similar to the solar system's Kuiper Belt, ESO wrote in its statement.

"Since the AF Leporis system is only 24 million years old -- about 200 times younger than the sun -- further studies of this system can shed light on how our solar system was formed."

Related Links
Lands Beyond Beyond - extra solar planets - news and science
Life Beyond Earth

Subscribe Free To Our Daily Newsletters

The following news reports may link to other Space Media Network websites.
Team Aims To Find Earth 2.0
Troy NY (SPX) Feb 15, 2023
Are there other Earth-like planets? Is there extraterrestrial life? In the quest to find planets that orbit stars other than the sun, "Earth 2.0" is the Holy Grail. Earth 2.0 is a planet similar enough to Earth to enable the existence of life as we know it. It would be the right temperature for liquid water, and it would orbit a star with a steady supply of light. Ideally, it would be close enough that we could imagine going there or at least sending a probe to explore it. Rensselaer Polytechnic I ... read more

Russia claims Progress leak caused by an "external impact"

Russian rescue mission for three space station astronauts set this week

Russia launches crew-less Soyuz to ISS as replacement

Farming on the Moon

World's first 3D-printed rocket Terran 1 is ready for its maiden flight

SpaceX launches Falcon 9 rocket from Florida, part of Inmarsat program

SpaceX Endeavour's crew arrive at KSC ahead of launch

Flight Crew Arrives at NASA's Kennedy Space Center for Crew-6 Mission

Perseverance set to begin third year on Mars at Jezero Crater

Drilling the Marker Band Again: Sols 3750-3751

Another Busy Day on Mars: Sol 3749

Better tools needed to determine ancient life on Mars

China's space station experiments pave way for new space technology

China solicits logos for manned space missions in 2023

Two crews set for Tiangong station in '23

Large number of launches planned

New research models concept for data transport using train of satellites

New transmitter design for small satellite constellations improves signal transmission

Vast acquires launcher to accelerate growth

Luxembourg taps into SES's O3b mPOWER for defense and disaster recovery

Low power Ka-band transmitters on Earth observation satellites

Radiation-resistant Ka-band radio for LEO constellation offers speeds Beyond 5G

Redwire partners with Starfish Space for Otter Pup satellite docking mission

Exploring the Valley of the Kings with radar

CARMENES project boosts the number of known planets in the solar neighbourhood

"Forbidden" planet orbiting small star challenges gas giant formation theories

Very Large Telescope captures direct images of bright exoplanet

Does ice in the Universe contain the molecules making up the building blocks of life in planetary systems?

Newly discovered form of salty ice could exist on surface of extraterrestrial moons

New aurorae detected on Jupiter's four largest moons

JUICE's final take-off before lift-off

A new ring system discovered in our Solar System

Subscribe Free To Our Daily Newsletters


The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2023 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Statement Our advertisers use various cookies and the like to deliver the best ad banner available at one time. All network advertising suppliers have GDPR policies (Legitimate Interest) that conform with EU regulations for data collection. By using our websites you consent to cookie based advertising. If you do not agree with this then you must stop using the websites from May 25, 2018. Privacy Statement. Additional information can be found here at About Us.