Friday, November 14, 2008

A planetary snapshot

Since Copernicus showed that the Earth orbits the Sun, we've known that we're not the only planet in the universe. 20 years ago was the first discovery of an exo-planet - a planet which orbits a different star. Over 350 of them have been discovered over the years. BUT... until this week, all these discoveries were made with various techniques which detected the planet, but did not show it. This is similar to knowing that an airplane is flying near you because you can see it on radar or see it's contrail, but not ever seeing one.

Last week the Hubble Space Telescope took a picture of Fomalhaut and saw .. really saw a planet.


Picture courtesy Astronomy Picture of the Day

For a better articulated explanation - and information about another stunning exo-planetary discovery, click here.


-- Robert

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