On what seems like a daily basis, scientists are discovering new extraterrestrial bodies at an exponential rate. From asteroids to precious metals, space exploration continuously proves to be fruitful in explorable wonder. Just recently, The European Southern Observatory Very Large Telescope (ESO TL) captured the very first image of a double-exoplanetary star system 300 light-years away known as TYC 8998-760-1. Researchers understand these findings to potentially teach us more about how our own planets might have formed around the sun.
“This discovery is a snapshot of an environment that is very similar to our Solar System, but at a much earlier stage of its evolutions,” says Alexander Bohn, a Ph.D. student at Leiden University in the Netherlands, who led the new research published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters.
Although planets of all kinds have been discovered in the past, this is the first time two planets around a sun-like star has ever been photographed. The ESO TL and a team of scientists were able to capture this image by taking separate photographs to distinguish the planets from one another and the centering star.
At about 320 times the distance of Earth from the sun, these recently discovered planets are approximately positioned further from their sun than Jupiter and Saturn. They are also denser and burn brighter due to their “young age.”
Bohn concludes, “The possibility that future instruments, such as those available on the ELT, will be able to detect even lower-mass planets around this star marks an important milestone in understanding multi-planet systems, with potential implications for the history of our own Solar System.”
After all, it is only through an in-depth understanding of our history where we are poised to best determine our future.
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