Scientists Just Took an Actual Picture of a Planet in Another Star System

The planet, known as “b Pictoris c,” is located roughly 63 light-years from Earth in the Beta Pictoris system. Using the additional brightness and dynamic mass data obtained from imaging it, they are aiming to narrow down how it arose.

Scientists discovered the planet’s existence by observing the impact it had on the orbit of its parent star. Because of how closely it orbits its star, it is impossible to picture the planet alone.

The researchers utilised a technique known as the “radial velocity method,” which has been used for years to discover hundreds of exoplanets but has never been used to directly evaluate exoplanets.

The team was able to pinpoint the position with incredible clarity using data from the four telescopes of the VLT, and they were also able to take a photograph of it. This was the first time an exoplanet could be verified using both the “radial velocity approach” and direct imaging.

The newly imaged Beta Pictoris c alongside Beta Pictoris b.

 

According to Mathias Nowak, principal author of the article that was recently published in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics, “this implies we can now obtain both the brightness and the mass of this exoplanet.” The more large a planet is, the more brilliant it is typically.

The scientists will need to wait until there is enough radial velocity data to make a mass determination. Due to the exoplanet’s 28-year orbital period, this may take some time.

According to a statement from Frank Eisenhauer, the GRAVITY project’s chief scientist at the Max Planck Institutes for Astronomy and Extraterrestrial Physics, “It is remarkable what level of detail and sensitivity we can accomplish with GRAVITY.”

From the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy to planets outside the solar system, we are only beginning to explore magnificent new worlds, he continued.

Reference: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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