May 07, 2005
"First Exoplanet" Image Confirmed
This infrared image resolves 2M 1207 into a close pair of objects, one of them 100 times brighter than the other. Astronomers infer that their masses are 25 and 5 Jupiter masses, which would make them a brown dwarf and a planet, respectively. Both are glowing with heat left over form their formation. The image was taken with adaptive optics on one of the 8.2-meter VLT reflectors. The objects are separated by 0.78 arcsecond, which corresponds to about 55 astronomical units at the system's 230-light-year distance. Courtesy Gael Chauvin / ESO.