Astronomers are now venturing outside of the solar system. In a new study, scientists are able to directly observe a planet 129 light-years away from Earth.
Stars of exoplanets are usually very bright that experts have to use indirect measures of study during investigations. This time, a group of scientists from Europe becomes successful in making their first direct observation.
Power Of Four In One
The spectacular direct observation is made possible by integrating the lights from a number of telescopes. The method is known specifically as optical interferometry, which allows four telescopes to come together and work as one. Such ability creates a system that has ample sensitivity to unscramble light from the planet to its parent star.
The instrument used by the team is called Gravity, which is able to put together the four light rays from the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope Interferometer in Chile.
"Our results demonstrate the power of interferometry for the direct detection and spectroscopic study of exoplanets at close angular separations from their stars," the authors wrote.
Super Jupiter In The Making
Dubbed as "super-Jupiter," the exoplanet is very different from anything that astronomers have ever observed in the Milky Way. The surface looks like stormy whirls of silicate and iron clouds.
Experts first discovered the exoplanet in 2010, when it revolved around a star in the constellation Pegasus. They called this exoplanet HR8799e. They described it as a ball of gas that is assumed to be significantly younger and bigger than any planet around the sun.
Sylvestre Lacour from France's Paris Observatory and the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics said their investigations imply that HR8799e has lights coming from the inside, with beams of warm light, motioning through turbulent areas of dark clouds. He further describes it as a representation of a big exoplanet's birth, experiencing intricate physical and chemical mechanisms.
The details of the investigation are published in the Astronomy and Astrophysics journal.