Two separate groups of scientists from the North America have released the first images of planets lying outside of our solar system. These exoplanets were spotted by teams from Berkeley and the Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics in Victoria, British Columbia when examining the dust clouds around a star 25 light years away called Fomalhaut.
Gravitational effects and the presence of those miniscule bright spots as shown in the picture above led them to conclude that a planet efficiently named Fomalhaut b lies 10.7 billion miles away from the star. It’s about three times the size of Jupiter and is around 60 million years old.
It’s the first direct evidence of any of these exoplanets, which then of course starts to beg the question of whether or not they support life like on Earth. The answer is no. Why should they? As far as I’m concerned, their existence has little bearing on the matter but it’s supposed that you can start to use this rather small sample to create a marginally better better wild stab in the dark as to how many planets there are out there.
Whether or not those calculations bear any fruit are one thing but for now I’m just rather impressed that we can see a little further into the void than we could before, and get such good images as well. Nice, aren’t they?